Brian Laws confident Manchester City loanee Eirik Holmen Johansen can shine for Scunthorpe United
SCUNTHORPE United boss Brian Laws says he has no doubt new loan signing Eirik Holmen Johansen will be able to cope with his first taste of league football.
The Manchester City goalkeeper has been brought in on an initial one month loan after Iron stopper Sam Slocombe was ruled out for at least four weeks with a tear in his thigh muscle.
Johansen will be thrown straight into the Scunthorpe starting line-up for Saturday’s home game with Coventry City, despite having only featured for City’s Under-21 team.
Laws though, points out the 20-year-old has plenty of experience at international level for Norway’s Under-19 and Under-21 sides and is confident he has the ability to make the step up.
“It was imperative we brought in a replacement as quickly as possible and we’re delighted to get Eirik Johansen in,” said the United manager.
“I think he can bring something extra to our game.
“The ideal scenario would have been someone with plenty of league experience but those kind of players are not available.
“I think if we’re going to go down the line of a young, hungry keeper, then he’s ideal.
“He’s got experience internationally and he’s played a lot of games this season for the Under-21s.
“We know he’s certainly on the ball and in good form.
“We’re not concerned because his abilities and international experience more than counteract his lack of league games.
“He’s settled in extremely well and the players are really impressed with him.”
Laws has not seen Johansen play in the flesh himself, though goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler has and returned with a positive report.
It was partly through Cutler that the link came about.
Laws explained Cutler has a ‘very strong connection’ with his City equivalent Massimo Battara, whilst he himself gets on well with first-team coach David Platt.
All are agreed on Johansen’s potential.
“I’ve seen a lot of clips of him, but I’ve not seen him in match play,” said Laws.
“Our goalkeeping coach has seen him on many occasions and he has great hopes for him.
“He believes he’s the right player for us with his international experience and qualities.
“Manchester City believe he has a really bright future, he just needs league games now.
“He’s ready and it suits both parties.”
For Slocombe meanwhile, the news brings nothing but disappointment.
The former Bottesford Town custodian had just started to find some form after being dropped by Laws earlier in the season in favour of Millwall loanee Steve Mildenhall.
He has however, been carrying the injury for almost a month, with the manager admitting it had finally started to affect his game after last week’s 1-0 defeat at Brentford.
A scan this week revealed the extent of the damage.
“We’ve just got the report back from Sam Slocombe’s scan which indicates he could be out for between four or six weeks,” said Laws.
“It’s disappointing for him.
“He had a spell out earlier in the season, and quite rightly so, it helped him no end to regain his confidence before coming back into the side.
“He’s been excellent since he came back in.
“He’s been carrying this strain for a wee while. It’s come to head and we had to pull him out.
“It’s disappointing for him and disappointing for us.
“It’s the nature of the beast, sometimes players have to play with knocks and bruises.
“He’s had it for a few weeks and it’s got gradually worse.”