Date:Thursday August 9 2007
Cardiff City's towering defender Roger Johnson is confident of being selected to start the first game of the season when Stoke City are the visitors to Ninian Park.
Johnson endured a frustrating start to his Cardiff career, after joining from Wycombe Wanderers last year. Initially, Johnson was a substitute having not played at this level before. Injuries and suspensions to first choice pairing of Purse & Loovens handed Johnson a number of opportunities, in which he acquitted himself well and impressed.
However, he was not able to cement a place in the team, and was often the fall guy when Purse / Loovens returned. Towards the end of last season, Johnson remained a bright spot despite an apalling reversal in form. His accomplished and dominant performances made him a suprise contender for player-of-the-season despite not starting many more than half the games.
Now Johnson hopes he has proved himself and can force his way past captain Purse and start every week. He told the Cardiff Post:
'I'm no different to any other player at Cardiff, I want my name on that team sheet to start against Stoke City on Saturday.'
'Obviously it's up to the gaffer, but I feel I've done reasonably well in pre-season to be in with a shout on Saturday.'
'And, of course, if I'm not in the team I will be greatly disappointed. I can't help it, that's the way I am.'
Johnson's cause may be helped by a lack of match fitness to Darren Purse meaning that Johnson is favourite to partner Glenn Loovens in the heart of the Cardiff defence.
Stoke City include 6ft 4in striker Jon Parkin in their squad and Johnson's extra height may be useful against the aerial threat of Stoke City.
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Date:Thursday August 9 2007
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