Ryan Lowe's message to the Preston North End squad after Daniel Johnson goes on international duty

Ryan Lowe has laid down the challenge to Preston North End’s squad to fill the gap left by Daniel Johnson’s call-up to the Jamaica squad.

By Dave Seddon
Monday, 24th January 2022, 4:45 pm

Johnson will miss the next three PNE games while away playing for his country.

Jamaica have three World Cup qualifiers coming up which are taking place outside of the usual international breaks.

In his time away, North End play West Bromwich, Bristol City and Millwall.

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There are other English teams in the same boat as North End with players being called up by their countries.

The Premier League last year voted to have no games this weekend, knowing that international games were scheduled outside of Europe.

However, the EFL chose not to have a break and there is a full fixture card.

Two of the games Johnson misses are ones rearranged after the Covid postponements at Christmas.

Preston North End midfielder Daniel Johnson has joined-up with the Jamaica squad

Lilywhites manager Lowe said: “It is a chance for others to showcase what they are about, I’ve seen a lot of good stuff from them in training.

“Hopefully whoever comes in will take that opportunity given to them. We are missing DJ for three games and we have to put him to the back of our minds in that time.

“We can only think about who can step in and fill his shoes – they are big shoes to fill because DJ has been quality.

“If we hit a winning streak and DJ can’t get in when he comes back, it shows that someone has done well.”

Johnson has started all six of Lowe’s games in charge, scoring against Barnsley and Cardiff City.

Ali McCann seems the most obvious choice to fill in for Johnson.

McCann was used as a wing-back in Lowe’s first match, with his other start being in midfield in the FA Cup clash with Cardiff.

Lowe said: “Since I came through the door here, DJ has performed well on a weekly basis.

“It gives someone else the chance to slide in there and do the job DJ has been doing.

“Time will tell how much we miss him but I think we have a good enough squad for someone to show us what they are all about.”

The World Cup qualifiers in the CONCACAF federation, in which Jamaica play, started later due to Covid, hence them being played in January.

Jamaica host Mexico on January 27, travel to Panama on January 30, before facing Costa Rica in Kingston on February 2.

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