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'Wits boast the strongest back four'

Posted: 14 August 2018 Time: 12:00

Bidvest Wits assistant coach Paul Johnstone believes their defensive line is amongst the strongest in the Absa Premiership, as shown in their opening games this season.

The Clever Boys have enjoyed an impressive start to the 2018/19 campaign, registering two healthy victories while conceding just one goal from their two games thus far.

A mixture of new signings and a solid back-line has made Gavin Hunt’s side a force to be reckoned with early on, as they currently top the log, ahead of Bloemfontein Celtic on goal-difference.

While it may still be early days, Johnstone, who has been standing in for the suspended Hunt, feels they’ve assembled one of the best back-lines this season, with Robyn Johannes, Buhle Mkhwanazi, Sifiso Hlanti and skipper notably Thulani Hlatshwayo slotting in at right-back.

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“We’ve got a Thulani Hlatshwayo, who’s our club and the national team captain – credit to him. The character of the man, he’s playing out of position and in his second position, so to speak,” explained Johnstone.

“But he’s more than willing to fill the role where we need him to. If we could, we would play Denis Weidlich in there too, because all the defenders through pre-season had been phenomenal, and it came to a point where we knew 'Tyson' would be fantastic for us at right-back.

“Looking at that back four, arguably, it’s the strongest back four in the league. You obviously have to be getting results for that to be true, but two fantastic results, conceding one goal, so we can’t argue.”

Having done away with some of the more experienced campaigners from seasons passed, Johnstone also credited their fresh injection of pace for their early upsurge of six goals in two matches.

“Up front it was evident last season that we had older legs, we lacked a bit of pace, and that’s something that we changed,” he added.

“In the off-season we went out there and obviously scouted around, and we’ve done our homework and what we wanted to bring in was people that can score goals.

“More importantly, we wanted players with pace and that’s exactly what we’ve done and, again, so far it’s paid off.”

Wits’ resolve will be put to the test once more by Orlando Pirates on Wednesday evening, when they face off at the Orlando Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 19h30.

Article by: Chad Klate (@CKlatey)

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