Motherwell V Inverness CT at Fir Park Stadium : Match Preview
01 September 2012 01:31
Johansson excited by Well role
Former Finland and Rangers striker Jonatan Johansson is relishing the challenge of helping more Motherwell academy players break into the first team after being appointed the club's Under-20s coach.
Johansson, who also had spells with Hibernian and St Johnstone, has officially signed on at Fir Park but has been around the club for several weeks.
The 37-year-old spent the summer coaching 17-year-olds at TPS in Finland and is looking to build on that experience at Motherwell.
Five teenagers played for Motherwell during their 1-0 Europa League defeat by Levante in Spain on Thursday night and with Stevie Hammell (hamstring) and Michael Higdon (Achilles) nursing injuries, manager Stuart McCall could have to field another youthful team when Inverness visit Fir Park.
Johansson is the man charged with preparing the Under-20s for the rigours of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and he appreciates the task requires an all-encompassing approach.
"It's a great challenge for me as a new coach to come to a club like this, which plays in Europe and is one of the best teams in Scotland," Johansson told MFCTV.
"It's known for having a great youth system, a lot of the players in the Under-20 team play for the first team.
"It's a great challenge to help these 17,18 and 19-year-olds break into the first team.
"There is some great talent coming through. It's very important years when you're 17 and 18 and being so close to the first team but that last step needs to be taken. It's interesting to work with them.
"With any club in Scotland and smaller clubs there are bound to be chances to play with injuries and suspensions.
"It's all about taking that chance and hopefully I can help them.
"It's important to lead by example, discipline is important and how you conduct yourself off the pitch, and hopefully I can teach them some football stuff.
"They are all talented enough to take that next step to the first team to the first team but it's still a hard step to take."
McCall hopes to have at least one of Tom Hateley, Simon Ramsden and Nicky Law back after they missed the trip to Valencia through injury but Shaun Hutchinson is suspended and also has an ankle injury.
Inverness manager Terry Butcher is happy with the creative side of his team's game.
Caley Thistle got their first win of the season at Arbroath in the Scottish Communities League Cup on Wednesday but they have been involved in three score draws and even managed two goals in a poor display against Celtic.
Butcher lost main striker Gregory Tade and inspirational winger Jonny Hayes in the summer but playmaker Andrew Shinnie and another Irish wide player, Aaron Doran, have started off well after missing large chunks of last season through injury.
Butcher said: "We have some mixed memories of Fir Park last season. We lost 3-0 down there on the opening day although we played some good football.
"And we won 1-0 when Jonny Hayes captained the team for the only time.
"Gregory Tade scored that day. We have lost our two top goalscorers from last season but we are still scoring goals and creating chances so I'm happy with that."
Shinnie has already netted four goals, half of his total from last season.
"He could have surpassed that figure on Wednesday night - he had enough chances and shots at goal to score there or four goals," Butcher said.
"He has done very well for us in every game. He's a quality player, and now he is fit and strong.
"It's the same with Aaron Doran. Aaron's a key player if we can keep him on a good level of fitness.
"If he keeps himself nice and sharp then we've got one hell of a player there too.
"People talk about Motherwell having good young players, but so have we."