Barnsley: Debut boy Lita goes goal hunting to repay Wilson

Leroy Lita scoring for Wednesday
Leroy Lita scoring for Wednesday
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New signing Leroy Lita is expected to make his debut for Barnsley tonight in the Capital One Cup.

Former Sheffield Wednesday loanee Lita penned a one-year deal with the Reds on Saturday, but he signed too late to play any part in the club’s home defeat to Crawley Town.

But the 29-year-old trained with the Reds for the first time on Sunday and yesterday and is expected to partner Sam Winnall, another of Wilson’s summer recruits, up top tonight against Crewe Alexandra.

The Reds play the Railwaymen twice in the space of five days this week, first at home in the first round of the cup and then away this Saturday in League One action. And Lita, who played under Wilson at Bristol City is hopeful of being a hit at Oakwell.

“Scoring goals is what I love to do and I’ve missed that,” admitted Lita, who scored six goals in 17 games on loan with the Owls last term.

“I’ve not played much football in the last year, so I’m ready to get back.

“I know Danny Wilson very well, he was my first manager. I like the way he works. He’s got a lot of trust in me and I’ve got a lot of trust in him as well.

“Danny was 100 per cent the reason I joined the club. I know him really well and really enjoyed my time as youngster playing under him.

“He looked after me a lot and it helped me progress a lot in my career.

“I’m looking to the challenge. I want to get back to playing regular football and I’m going to get that opportunity here.

“Danny spoke to me about the squad a little bit and told me why he wanted me here and where I fit in” said Lita.

“It’s a challenge for me and one which I’m up for. I’m delighted to be at Barnsley.

“I just want to play some games and score some goals for him. It’s a young squad and a lot of young players who are looking to prove themselves, which is good.

“I’ll come in and do my part and, hopefully, we can all have an input in the club doing well.

“If you respect each other and work hard for each other then you can get results.

“I’ve always set myself targets for the season, but I always keep them to myself. But I’m looking to score in every game I play. If I don’t and we win though, well I’ll be happy.”

The weekend’s 1-0 home defeat to Crawley was hard to swallow for Wilson, especially with winger Dale Jennings sent off for the second time in as many years on opening day.

Former Bayern Munich man Jennings will miss tonight’s match with a three-match suspension to serve for his violent conduct charge, but that will give other new signings the chance to shine.

Keith Treacy could feature at some stage since joining as a free agent last week, while Wilson could give youth a chance to impress with league success his main priority this season. Striker Kane Hemmings could feature, but is a doubt with an ankle injury that saw him miss out at the weekend.

But Lita is likely to be the man to watch if Wilson hands him his debut.

Wilson hopes Lita’s experience will be a key factor in his side’s success this season.

“With a bit of luck the experience Leroy has got, and also his goal prowess, he will be a big difference for us,” said Wilson.

“He’s played at the top level, so we’re hoping he can be a big part of our jigsaw. The difference in this division is your strikers.

“You need somebody up there who has got that little bit of extra guile and experience.

“Leroy gives us experience, whereas a lot of the other boys are not tried and tested at this level.”