MARK HUGHES has backed Andy Johnson to come back stronger than ever from the Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury he sustained in Saturday’s 0-0 derby draw with Chelsea.
The 31 year-old has been ruled out for the majority of the season but Hughes told www.qpr.co.uk today: “He is mentally a very, very strong character.
“He has been through long-term injuries before and always comes back stronger and I have no doubts that he will do the same again.
“He will get the best treatment and best support from the medical staff here and we will make sure we get him back as quickly as possible without ever compromising him. We will make sure he is fit and well when he returns.”
Johnson had made an impressive start to his R’s career, setting up Bobby Zamora for his goal at Manchester City as well as causing havoc amongst the Chelsea defence at Loftus Road prior to his injury on 33 minutes.
“He was playing exceptionally well at the time and had been in previous games so to lose his experience and ability is a blow to us,” Hughes admitted.
“People understood why I wanted to bring AJ to the club. He has got fantastic energy and you need those types of players in your squad.”
Hughes and his management team worked exceptionally hard during the summer to build a group of players capable of handling the demands of a Premier League campaign.
And the R’s chief says Johnson’s injury, along with the hamstring problems sustained by Anton Ferdinand and Fabio Da Silva, highlight just how important it is to have a strong squad.
“We said from the outset we were looking for at least two quality players in each position and we are nearly there,” he said.
“When you suffer injuries in the team you want the quality to stay at the same level and hopefully we can do that. We have got good quality to come in.
“It just shows the value of the work we did during the transfer window. When injuries and suspensions occur, we are prepared.”