'Embrace it' - Johnston happy with extra competition in Wanderers' back line

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George Johnston is looking forward to the competition in the Wanderers defence this season
George Johnston is looking forward to the competition in the Wanderers defence this season

JACK Iredale’s arrival at Wanderers has added an extra layer of competition to the Wanderers back line this summer – and George Johnston couldn’t be happier about it.

Last season’s Young Player of the Year at the UniBol, Johnston played more minutes in League One than anyone else in the Bolton squad.

Nevertheless, he goes into the new campaign knowing he must stay on his toes thanks to the signing for ex-Cambridge United man, Iredale.

“Coming into pre-season these days you know nobody comes in out of shape or unfit,” he said. “You have to hit the ground running right away because there is so much competition ready to take your shirt.

“Jack coming in will add more competition, which I might not have had last season. You should expect that at a big club like Bolton and embrace it. Hopefully I can push on and improve on what I did last year.

“That is what we wanted to be like – a strong group, not just a strong starting 11.

“With that strength in depth we can push on now, especially with the five substitutions this season, there will be lots of options for the manager.”

Johnston has played left-back before, and also dropped into midfield at one stage last season when injuries and illnesses tore deep into Ian Evatt’s options.

But the former Liverpool trainee admits he is unlikely to feature anywhere but centre-half this season.

“I don’t think I am as versatile as Jack in that sense, he is more of a left wing-back than I am, but I am comfortable playing anywhere across the back three. I’m left tooted, so maybe better on that side, but if I got shifted across, I could cope,” he added.

Wanderers continue their pre-season campaign at Chorley this Saturday with a large travelling contingent expected to make the short journey to Victory Park.

Johnston scored in the 9-0 rout at Longridge on Tuesday night and hopes to keep the momentum going.

“Chorley will be another good run out,” he said. “We’ll debrief the Longridge game and see what we can improve on. I think some parts were lacking in sharpness but the energy and application was there and we just need to keep that going now.”

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