Johnston Happy To Lead From The Back

George Johnston was proud to see the job through as stand-in skipper as Wanderers continued their mean streak.

The Whites kept a second successive clean sheet in League One – and third in a row following a Papa Johns Trophy shut-out – as they drew 0-0 with top-six rivals Derby County.

Wanderers have overcome the combined absence of skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos and vice-captain Gethin Jones for the last couple of games to keep putting points on the board with a new-look back three of Johnston, Will Aimson and Eoin Toal.

And Johnston’s lead role in the re-shaped defence was reflected in his elevation to the captain’s role for the closing stages of Tuesday’s battle with the Rams.

“I enjoy the responsibility,” said the 24-year-old, who has started all bar one of Wanderers’ League One games this season.

“It’s something I want to develop – my leadership skills.

“It’s not always easy in the heat of a match to be the calm head but it’s something I want to develop and I was happy Kieran (Lee) gave me the armband.

“They were great performances from Will and Eoin and I’m just happy to play alongside them.

“Will is a very experienced player, so he’s great to come and slot in, and Eoin hasn’t played many games but the games he has come into he’s looked very good.

“It’s credit to them and their attitude in training every day that they can come in and put in the performances they’ve put in.

“They have slotted in perfectly. That’s the way we want it – two competitive players in each position in the squad.

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“I know what they can provide for the team. They’re two solid lads and we just gave everything to keep the clean sheet and Traff did well behind as well.”

Only Peterborough have conceded fewer home goals this season than the Whites as Ian Evatt’s men secured another useful point to stay fifth in the table – a point and a place ahead of an in-form Derby side who are unbeaten in nine League One games.

And Johnston believes the result – achieved in front of Wanderers’ biggest home crowd since May, 2012 – will help Wanderers bid to tighten their grip on a play-off place as they hit the road for an away-day double header at Lincoln City and Barnsley over the New Year weekend.

“All plaudits to the fans. If we’re doing something right then they’re going to want to come and watch us,” he added.

“If we can keep putting on good performance and good displays, hopefully we can reach those numbers again.

“I think it will give us a bit of confidence going into these next games.

“We can compete with these big teams around us. We’ve played a really good team and pushed them all the way. I think we were the ones that looked like winning it.

“I know they had a couple of half-chances but I think we had the better chances in the end.”

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