Michael Johnson shares the fans' excitement as Roberto Mancini prepares for a summer recruitment drive aimed at hoisting the Blues into the Champions League elite.

Midfielder Johnno knows that world-class signings will only make his own task harder as he fights for a first-team place this autumnn following his major knee surgery in December.

Yet he is delighted for the Blues supporters who have known tough times but are now relishing the arrival of star signings before another season challenging at the top of the League.

Working hard towards a September return, he said: “Now that it’s summer and you hear of the players we’re being linked with, it is exciting - especially for our fans.

It’s only a few seasons ago, when I made my debut under Stuart Pearce, that we were fighting relegation



“We had to win games, Newcastle away and Fulham away, and if we didn’t ... that’s where we’ve come from, so to be linked with all these massive names must be great for our fans. Me as well - I can’t wait for them to get here!”

Johnno’s training accident struck as he was discussing a loan move with then-manager Mark  Hughes in the wake of a scoring comeback cameo against Scunthorpe in the Carling Cup.

He said: “I needed fitness. We were doing well - we’d just beaten Arsenal and then we beat Chelsea. Everyone was on a high. Then I got injured. It brings you right back down to earth.

“But that’s football, these things happen. I’m determined to come back stronger. I won’t be just trying to get through and be content, I’ll strive to play well and get in the team.”

He is booked on the pre-season US tour in July: “The plan is for me to join in a few running sessions but if it’s a bit too intense, I’ll just step out and do my own thing.”