The £100,000 Portsmouth man surprisingly bombed out at Fratton now bouncing back after promotion pain

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There was surprise the former Middlesbrough man was moved on from Fratton - now he has a new home at Bradford City days after his Mansfield Town release following promotion.

There were a fair few eyebrows raised when Danny Cowley called time on the defender’s Pompey career.

Plenty of Blues followers were fans of Callum Johnson’s after 46 dependable performances, as £100,000 was splashed out to land the right-back from Accrington in 2020 under Kenny Jackett.

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He didn’t fit the bill for Cowley, however, though supporters were quick to cast doubt on the decision with ‘bizarre’, ‘very poor’ and ‘Pompey making a mistake’ just some of the comments made 12 months later.

After a period where big money had been wasted on Ellis Harrison and John Marquis, it was more cash spurned - a sequence which made the club’s owners nervous over investment, until Richard Hughes’ arrival as sporting director.

For Johnson, he was afforded the chance to find regular football with Fleetwood, before a switch north of the border to Ross County and then move to Mansfield at the start of last year.

The 27-year-old made 35 appearances under Nigel Clough, but saw four months of this season curtailed by a serious hamstring injury. Johnson returned, however, for the final-day celebrations at Barrow as Mansfield went up to League One in third place.

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Joy quickly turned to pain, however, earlier this month when the former Middlesbrough man was one of four players released by the Stags.

Now, however, Johnson has found himself a new home at one of the heaviest hitters in the lower echelons of the EFL, after being handed a 12-month agreement at Bradford. And after success this term and a previous promotion with Accrington, Johnson is looking to make it a four-tier treble.

He told Bradford’s official site: ‘I am delighted to be here. I spoke to the manager and knew straight away that I wanted to sign. 

‘Everyone will say the same, but the size of the club is really what brought me here. I have played for big clubs before and been successful. I have been promoted from League Two twice in my only two full seasons at this level, so am aiming to add a third here.

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‘I have predominantly played right-back in a back four and, in a back three, I can play at right centre-back as well as right wing-back. Keeping clean sheets is the main aim, but I do like to get forward and contribute further up the pitch too.

‘The manager said everything I wanted to hear, and told me the way he wants to play. We have spoken about where he sees me and where I feel most comfortable, and we have the same ideas on where I play my best football. 

‘I am looking forward to getting going, and striving to reach our goals.’

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