Johnson targets pre-season lift

Big things were expected of Johnson when he broke into the City

first team under Stuart Pearce in 2006. However, the 22-year-old’s

progress has been badly affected by injury, starting with an

abdominal problem that kept him on the sidelines for most of last

season. Without rediscovering top form, Johnson did at least force

his way back into the first-team picture this term, only to suffer

a major knee injury in training just before Christmas that ruled

him out for the remainder of the campaign. Johnson could be

forgiven for allowing his fitness worries to get him down. Instead,

the former England Under-21 star is buoyant again after receiving

the green light to step up his recovery. And he is eager to be

available again when City begin preparations for a campaign that

could yet include Champions League combat for the first time when

Roberto Mancini’s men return to training after their summer break.

“No player wants to have to go through such a long recovery and it

has just been bad luck that I have had two in a row early in my

career,” Johnson told the club website. “Having recovered from a

serious injury before means that this time I am a little more

experienced and can deal with the frustrations much better. “It is

just a matter of time, patience and hard work now. “If everything

goes to plan I am looking at the start of next season to be

hopefully joining in with training sessions again.”