Season finishes early for Preston North End midfielder because of injury
Daniel Johnson’s season has come to an end after Frankie McAvoy decided playing him in Preston North End’s final two games would risk a setback in his recovery from injury.
The midfielder has been sidelined since limping out of the 1-1 draw with Norwich City on Good Friday with a damaged calf muscle.
That was McAvoy’s first game as interim head coach and of late he has settled on Ryan Ledson, Ben Whiteman and skipper Alan Browne as his first-choice midfield three.
Johnson is not too far away from full fitness but with only the games against Barnsley and Nottingham Forest to come, McAvoy wants to take away the risk factor.
McAvoy said: “I had a chat with the medical team the other day and we were just thinking let’s not try and rush DJ back.
“We have accomplished what we wanted to do in being in the Championship but obviously we want to finish as high as we can and pick up as many points as we can in the last two games.
“But why go and risk causing him further damage?
“The right thing to do is get him relaxed, allow him to work with the physios and we’ll see him fully fit ready for next season.
“It’s just a nick in his calf but sometimes those can go quite deep, so we have to be careful with him.”
In line with many of his team-mates, Johnson has not had the best of seasons.
He has still started 24 games in the Championship and come off the bench nine times, scoring four goals.
However, the 28-year-old has not hit the heights of last season when he was voted PNE’s player of the year by both supporters and colleagues.
In the first half of the season there was much speculation over his future as the saga over contract negotiations rumbled on. Before the start of the campaign, Rangers made a £1.5m bid to sign him.
Johnson signed a new deal with PNE in January, soon after Browne had done so.
North End have been able to cover his recent absence quite comfortably due to the midfield being the best stocked area of the squad.
In addition to the three who have played of late, Brad Potts, Jayson Molumby and Tom Bayliss are pushing for an inclusion.
Said McAvoy: “Midfield is an area which is covered well with numbers.
“It’s right that we look after DJ and allow him to get fully fit for next season.”
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