Johnson: Baxter loss opens gap

Lee Johnson has challenged Oldham's attacking reserves to fill the void created by Jose Baxter's untimely absence.

Last Updated: 11/04/13 at 18:04

Baxter: Absence is chance for others

Baxter: Absence is chance for others

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Latics sit outside the League One relegation zone on goal difference following Tuesday night's 2-0 defeat at Preston, in which top scorer Baxter picked up his 10th booking of the season to land a two-match ban.

The former Everton youngster started in a midfield role at Deepdale, with Robbie Simpson and Lee Barnard spearheading an attack that was bolstered by the second-half introductions of Kirk Millar and Matt Smith, understandably leaving Johnson with the feeling he has players ready to step up to the plate.

"That's a big loss for us, obviously," he said of Baxter's suspension. "Now we've got other people to come in.

"We're lucky enough to have a squad where we've got people chomping at the bit, ready to come in."

One man who could find his first-team place under threat is left-back Jonathan Grounds.

Johnson pulled few punches in his assessment of the penalty incident leading to Preston's first goal in midweek, in which Jeffrey Monakana's cross struck Ground's outstretched arm, and sympathy was in short supply.

"From my point of view it's bad defending," he said. "He should work his feet quicker, he should get out there quicker.

"He's turning his back and throwing his arm up in the air. What do you expect?"

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