Paul Johnstone on what teams can expect from Bidvest Wits

Bidvest Wits assistant coach Paul Johnstone is well pleased with the level at which the first team has trained at over the last week.

We caught up with Johnstone on Friday following the Clever Boys’ training session at Sturrock Park under strict COVID-19 guidelines. All Premier Soccer League (PSL) clubs have systematically returned to training this month in preparation for the resumption of the 2019/20 league season.

“It has been a good week actually, everyone has been chomping to get back on the field. Naturally we have been in touch over the last four months or so during lockdown, doing our various training drills at home but there is no better feeling than to be back on the field and to be back in touching distance, so to speak,” said Johnstone.

“From day one when we got back the guys have been in good spirits. The guys have been great, considering the unique situation we are in. Because that date, the 18th [of July] has been mentioned [for the return to action] we can only try and work according to that date even though we haven’t yet received absolute confirmation. So we went into bigger group training [on Friday] and the guys are looking good: Spirits are up and raring to go. The situation is what it is and we will give it our best.”

With no exact date nailed down just yet, preparing for games has been even more challenging, but the team is taking things one day at a time as things stand.

“It is very difficult, you can overthink to a point and you can find yourself backtracking. We are doing the best we can with the information that we have,” Johnstone added. “It is very tough to get the guys fully prepared, yes they have been doing their own bits of training at home but under restricted circumstances. It is one thing training on your own, but a complete other ball game when playing against another team. Step by step, one day at a time and all we can do is see where we are at come that first day of competition.”

Asked what teams can expect from Bidvest Wits in the final few rounds of not only the league season, but Nedbank Cup as well, Johnstone revealed that there will be a lot of emotion on show and that it will be up to the players to manage their emotions as the club aims to see out the campaign on a high.
“I think there will be a lot of emotion from our guys, just given the fact of what everyone has heard about and what is potentially happening to the club. It is crazy to think of, but all I can say is that there will be a hell of a lot of emotion out there and I hope the emotion is used in the best possible manner. From a playing style nothing is going to change, we are who we are and Gavin [Hunt] is who he is. There will be a lot of emotion out there that is for sure,” he concluded.