It has been a frustrating 12 months for the young full-back since last season's North Riding showpiece defeat against Middlesbrough Under-23s.
But now, with new boss John Deacey filling him full of belief and confidence, Johnson is ready to make his mark against Marske United and help Boro to lift the cup.
He said: "These past few weeks have been the most enjoyable time in my senior career, I've really loved it.
"When I picked up an injury just a few minutes into pre-season, it really hit me.
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"That was the first major injury I've had in my career and you don't realise how much it affects you.
"You lose that bit of focus and during the months that you are recovering and then trying to force your way back into the team you can start to question yourself.
"There was talk of me going out on loan in recent months and it was a point where I was thinking what is going to be next for me. Fortunately I didn't go anywhere because I wouldn't be here now and involved in a very exciting time.
"The new manager has put his faith in me and he is really getting the best out of me.
"I have had my head down when I wasn't getting anywhere near the pitch, but now my chin is up and I'm loving it.
"He has fresh ideas on everything, look at the game at South Shields when we finished off playing two at the back against a side pushing for the title.
"The pressure has been lifted off our shoulders because in the months, before he came in, we were looking nervous going into games and that showed on the pitch.
"It has been a bit too late for us in the league, but we have the cup final to play in and that will be another great experience for us."
Having reclaimed his place in the side in recent weeks, Johnson is now hoping that he remains in Deacey's mind for the trip to the Riverside.
"Obviously I'm hoping that I play because they are the games you want to be involved in as a player," he added.
"I have really got my head down and worked in recent weeks and that has paid off because I've been involved in the past few games.
"On Thursday it will be all about bouncing back from last season's cup final defeat because we didn't deserve to lose that game.
"We also want to give a bit back to the fans, who have stuck with us throughout a season that has at times been frustrating.
"They really deserve something to cheer and we'll be trying to make sure they can go home happy."