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Johnson ready to return

"He started really well and I was impressed before he got injured. We haven’t seen enough of him in the Blue shirt. Hopefully that will change," asserted the boss.

"We can see why the lofty labels were put on him because he has a lot of the attributes that would be really helpful to the team and he was a big loss last year. There were games in which he would have undoubtedly have had an impact.

"Hopefully we have now got to the bottom of the problem and he is more confident that his body will stand up to the rigours of Premier League football. Hopefully he is clear in his own mind that he is over the injuries."

>>Mark Hughes on Michael Johnson.

Whilst comparisons to Colin Bell were a case of hyberole in the extreme, there is no doubt in my mind that Johnson is a player of huge talent - perhaps the best of the recent crop of graduates from the Academy.

His start to the 2007/08 was sensational, playing a huge role in our ascent to the top of the table and he displayed a real attacking intent and since being sidelined through injury it isn't a stretch to suggest his loss has been a factor in our stuttering performances since then.

Although the midfield and attack have been strengthened immensely over the past two seasons, I still don't think we have another player in the squad that matches Johnson's style and the hope surely is that he can have a full season injury free.

We could then be looking at a breakout season along the lines that we saw from Stephen Ireland this past season.