Johnson closing in on City return

The former England Under-21 star has endured a miserable time with

injuries for virtually three years after breaking into the City

side under Sven-Goran Eriksson. Johnson’s early performances earned

comparisons with legendary Blues midfielder Colin Bell. However, he

has been unable to advance his career after a succession of

problems have condemned him to extensive periods on the sidelines.

Johnson, though, is now on the comeback trail once more and

appeared for City’s reserve team against Bury earlier this month,

since when the 22-year-old has impressed in training. “Michael has

had a tough time but has come on leaps and bounds in the last two

weeks,” revealed Kidd. “He has done really well and the next couple

of weeks will be interesting. “I was at the reserve game against

Bury and he was terrific. He is looking really good in training as

well. “What he is looking for now are the games which will give him

a quickness you can’t really get from training.” Johnson will

clearly not be involved in Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round replay as

City look to overcome League One outfit Notts County and book a

last-16 clash with Aston Villa. Yet, if some who are looking at

reinvigorating the world’s oldest domestic cup competition have

their way, such games would be a thing of the past. Scrapping

replays are one of the ideas up for debate, along with midweek ties

and a late afternoon kick-off for the final. Whether any of these

alterations could bring some added shine to the FA Cup is debatable

though. “The FA Cup was a fantastic occasion. People say you are

old fashioned and times have changed but it was a memorable day,”

said Kidd. “Every supporter in the land watched the FA Cup final.

It wasn’t just if your team was there. You had the brass band, the

singing, the white suits. It was fantastic. I suppose the modern

ones don’t want that now do they? “If I am honest, it has a bit to

do because football has changed dramatically and the FA Cup has

been diluted a little bit.”