Preston North End midfielder is stacking-up the goals in games against Barnsley

Daniel Johnson’s eyes must light up when he sees a game against Barnsley coming up.

By Dave Seddon
Friday, 6th May 2022, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 6th May 2022, 1:48 pm

The Preston North End midfielder has developed a liking for playing for the South Yorkshire side in recent seasons.

His two goals at Oakwell last Saturday took his tally to six in his last five games against the Tykes. With a couple of assists scattered in there too, there’s something Johnson finds to his liking.

Johnson started his scoring run by netting twice when North End beat Barnsley 5-1 at Deepdale in October 2019.

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Preston North End's Daniel Johnson celebrates scoring the second goal at Barnsley

In the return clash at Oakwell three months later, he netted in a 3-0 victory.

Last season was a blank, with Johnson not finding the net in the away game while he was injured for the reverse game at Deepdale.

In Ryan Lowe’s first game in charge in December, Johnson set up Alan Browne’s opener before scoring the winner.

Then came last week’s double, the first time he had scored twice in a game since that 5-1 game in 2019.

Johnson was of course playing out of position at Barnsley, with Lowe moving him to left wing-back to give North End some natural balance down that side of the pitch.

Both goals came from the left hand side of the box, the move paying off with Johnson perfectly place to collect Emil Riis’ pass for the first and then Alan Browne’s lay-off for the second – curled away from the keeper into the far top corner.

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It will be interesting to see whether Lowe asks him to play as a wing-back again in the Middlesbrough game or moves him back into his favoured attacking midfield slot.

There must be something about playing against teams in red and white, Johnson also having a decent scoring record against Bristol City. He’s scored four goals against the Robins in recent seasons.

Johnson is PNE’s joint second highest scorer in the Championship this season, level on seven with Cameron Archer.

He also found the net in the FA Cup at Cardiff City, so is second outright in all competitions.

The Jamaica international has five assists to his name in league action, joint highest with Alan Browne and Riis.

Whether Johnson will get much of a summer break will depend on Jamaica duty.

The Reggae Boyz have four games scheduled for June, three in the Nations League – home and away with Suriname and home against Mexico, and a friendly with Uruguay.

Johnson played in most of their World Cup qualifying campaign but didn’t travel for the March international games when qualification was beyond them.

Next season will see Johnson join North End’s 300 club – of which Browne and Paul Huntington of the current squad are members.

He has made 297 appearances in all competitions since signing for £50,000 from Aston Villa in January 2015 at a time when PNE were a League One side.

No.298 should come up against Middlesbrough, with the 300 coming up after the summer. Johnson has scored 56 goals in a PNE shirt and he’ll be looking to finish off the season by adding to that tally.