‘They deserve credit for sticking by their manager’ - Skuse on Bristol City and close friend Johnson

Cole Skuse (left) believes Bristol City were right to stick with Lee Johnson. Picture: PA/STEVE WALL

Cole Skuse (left) believes Bristol City were right to stick with Lee Johnson. Picture: PA/STEVE WALLER - Credit: Archant

Cole Skuse says former club Bristol City are a good example of how sticking with a manager during tough times can ultimately bring success.

Cole Skuse returns to former club Bristol City this weekend. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Cole Skuse returns to former club Bristol City this weekend. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Johnson, a close friend and former team-mate of the Ipswich Town midfielder, came under intense pressure last season as the Robins flirted with relegation but, 12 months later, they are in the thick of the promotion race having enjoyed a semi-final run in the Carabao Cup.

Skuse returns to Ashton Gate to face a club he played more than 300 times for before moving to Suffolk in 2013, for a game he still feels contains a little extra ‘needle’ and leaps off the fixture list at the start of the season.

“It holds a little bit of needle for myself being from Bristol, all my family being from Bristol and then being a former Bristol City player and fan,” Skuse said.

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“They are having a great season. They’ve had a little blip of late but they’ve got themselves back on track and will be looking to finish in the top six if they can.

“Like any fan you want to see your team do well and it would be a credit to the owner of the club because he stuck with Lee Johnson during tough times on and off the field when they’ve had a rough patch.

“They deserve credit for sticking by their manager and it would be a great achievement if they did go up because I know the chairman has put a lot of time, effort and finances into getting them where they are.”

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Skuse is looking forward to seeing his old friend this weekend but will be doing so without any sense of split loyalties, insisting he will be thinking only of Ipswich when he returns to a club he had a 17-year association with.

Skuse, centre after scoring for City at Reading, celebrates with Johnson (No.33). Picture: PA

Skuse, centre after scoring for City at Reading, celebrates with Johnson (No.33). Picture: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

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“I won’t be dealing with him (Johnson) before the game too much so it will just be a brief hello to see how he and the family are because we’ve known each other for many years and are friends,” Skuse said. “But after the game we’ll have a chinwag and a bit of a catch-up before moving on to the next one.

“I am 100 per cent with Ipswich because I am an Ipswich player, but you all have teams you support.

“I was at the club for 17 years and brought up from a tiny dot supporting the club, so they will always be my team as a fan.

Skuse, pictured during his Bristol City days. Picture: PA

Skuse, pictured during his Bristol City days. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

“But I want to go there and win the game.”