No rift with Bradley Johnson, insists Norwich City chief Alex Neil

Bradley Johnson celebrates one of his 15 goals during his stunning final season with Norwich City. P

Bradley Johnson celebrates one of his 15 goals during his stunning final season with Norwich City. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alex Neil insists there was no rift behind his shock decision to sell Bradley Johnson, ahead of Saturday's first reunion with Norwich City's former player-of-the-year.

Johnson is expected to be in the Derby midfield for his first meeting against the Canaries since a deadline day move, just months after playing a key role in the club's 2015 Wembley play-off success.

'Bradley was a great professional when I had him here,' said Neil. 'He was a top, top Championship player but the simple fact is circumstances change. For us to invest in the squad we needed to generate money and Bradley, in my opinion, got a really, really good offer in terms of the money at Derby. I thought the money we were getting was a good deal and so did the powers-that-be. It ended up more than £6m in terms of the actual deal so the figures made sense for us.

'Bradley probably had the season of his life that year. Now I am not going to say he cannot have another one of those again. We simply felt it would help us to use that finance. Now we are back in the Championship, he is a very good player but at that stage we were in the Premier League and my task was to keep us there. I had to strengthen in certain areas and that money was used.'

Neil knows Johnson will be fired up to prove a point in the Rams' cause.

'Me and Bradley had a really good relationship. He has come back since and I spoke to him here in the canteen at the training ground. We had no issues whatsoever,' said Neil. 'If anything he did wonderfully well for me when I was here and I wished him all the best when he went to Derby. It is a huge game. Derby is a big club. People will expect them to be up there. Steve McClaren lost his job at Newcastle and now it is the Second Coming at Derby. It shows you how things can fluctuate.'

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