Johnno has no room for sentiment
DAVID JOHNSON will shove sentiment aside when he makes an emotional return to Ipswich Town tomorrow.The former 'King of Portman Road' will be looking to secure the points Nottingham Forest need to stay in Division One, rather than give his former club any help in their bid to reach the play-offs.
DAVID JOHNSON will shove sentiment aside when he makes an emotional return to Ipswich Town tomorrow, writes Derek Davis.
The former 'King of Portman Road' will be looking to secure the points Nottingham Forest need to stay in Division One, rather than give his former club any help in their bid to reach the play-offs.
Johnson said: “It will be nice to go back to Ipswich because I had a fantastic three and a bit seasons there.”
But the good old days will be put to the back of the mind as Forest target the points they need to secure Division One safety.
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Forest are four points and five places ahead of third-from-bottom Gillingham and believe they still need at least one more win to ensure survival.
Watford overtook Forest with a 2-1 victory at Millwall on Tuesday and Burnley boosted their chances of avoiding the drop with a 2-0 win over already-relegated Wimbledon.
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Johnson added: “The results in midweek didn't help us at all and we know if we slip up at Ipswich we could find ourselves fourth from bottom.
“Gillingham and Burnley are not going to win every game but we need to get the points we need sooner rather than later.”
The former Manchester United trainee, who joined the Blues from Bury in a deal that cost Town almost £1m and saw Chris Swailes move in the opposite direction, is delighted to even be playing, never mind starting, against his old club after suffering a double leg break last September.
The 27-year-old forward got his first start in six months against Millwall after in-form Gareth Taylor needed surgery on a torn cartilage.
He said: “My season has already finished on a high and my priority now is to get fit for next season.
“If I scored against Ipswich or in the other two games left, that would just be a bonus.
“I knew I would never be 100% fit until next season and I was absolutely knackered on Saturday.
“But I am out there starting games and I am delighted about that after what has happened this season.
“The goal against Millwall was a massive boost but just playing has been great because I had resigned myself to not being out there at all.”
Johnson, who scored 62 goals in 148 appearances for Ipswich before completing a £3million move to the City Ground in 2001, is not the only Forest star with Town connections.
Northern Ireland international Danny Sonner is likely to be on the bench but would relish the opportunity to come up against Ulsterman Jim Magilton in the Town midfield.
Sonner scored three goals in his 56 league appearances for Town.
Meanwhile, keeper Paul Gerrard will be in goal for Joe Kinnear's side and hopes to make the move to the City Ground permanent from Everton.
Gerrard made a favourable impression at Portman Road during his five-game temporary stint, which would have lasted longer if he had not suffered a serious knee injury hours before he was due to sign an extension in December 2002.
* More than 26,000 tickets had been sold for the game last night with a gate of around 28,000 expected. Tickets are still on sale today although some turnstiles will be open on Saturday.