Barnsley: Defence worry for Reds

Barnsley scorers 'Jacob Mellis and Chris O'Grady celebrate
Barnsley scorers 'Jacob Mellis and Chris O'Grady celebrate
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David Flitcroft is delighted with the progress his side are making with the new Championship season just around the corner.

But the Barnsley boss admitted there are still plenty of things to work on ahead of their opening fixture at home to Wigan Athletic at Oakwell on August 3.

Midfielder Jacob Mellis and striker Chris O’Grady were both on the scoresheet as the Reds twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Wolves to maintain their unbeaten start to pre-season.

“It was a great test for us,” revealed Flitcroft. “They came here with a real verve and energy.

“I think some of their players were hurting from relegation last season and they wanted to impress their new manager.

“They gave us a brilliant test and that was just the sort of game we were after.

“You get to this stage in pre-season and you think you’ve done your work, but games like this are a really good barometer to where you’re at.

“We know what we need to do over the next two weeks, which is great. There’s no doubt that Wolves are a Championship side, so it was good to get a good test.

“But things are shaping up well for us. It’s been great on the training ground and now it’s about more classroom work and working on the tactical side of things.”

Zeli Ismail gave Wolves a second minute lead when he fired home from Jake Cassidy’s cross. The Reds’ defending left much to be desired.

But former Chelsea midfielder Mellis equalised three minutes later after he finished off a good move with O’Grady.

Sam Ricketts restored the visitors’ lead when he headed in a Danny Batth free-kick in the 20th minute. Again the Reds’ defending from the set-piece was poor.

However, just before the hour former Sheffield Wednesday marksman O’Grady struck to make sure of a draw with a sweet left-foot strike.

Flitcroft said: “We’ve got a fantastic group of players, they’re a collective unit and there’s no superstars in there. Everyone is working together.

“It’s going to be a real challenge this season, but we’ve got some great games to look forward too.

“But I’ve said to the players we’ve got to have no trepidation, no anxiety and no fear - and take these teams on like we did last season because it’s the only way we know how.

“We can’t wait for the season to get started. There’s still a lot a bit of work to do though.

“There’s some good fluidity to our forward play and the goals we scored, but the goals we conceded have given me a little bit of concern.”

Flitcroft used eight substitutes on Saturday with only keeper Luke Steele, centre-back Martin Cranie and left-back Scott Golbourne playing the full 90 minutes.

And there was a 15 minute cameo appearance from Spanish trialist Christiano Lopez, a player Flitcroft is casting his eye over as he continues to look at strengthening his squad.

“He’s been passed on to us,” revealed Flitcroft. “He’s come through the youth system at Real Madrid - and he’s looking quite sharp. I wanted him tested.”

The Reds’ only injury concern is young striker Danny Rose who has a foot-injury.

Barnsley: Steele, Wiseman (Cywka 55), Cranie, McNulty (Nyatanga 55), Kennedy (Etuhu 55), Golbourne, Dawson (O’Brien 55), Perkins (Digby 63), Mellis (Jennings 62), O’Grady (Scotland 75), Dagnall (Lopez 75). Unused sub: Dibble.

Wolves: Hennessey, Ricketts, Elokobi, Edwards, Stearman, Batth, Doumbia, Davis, Cassidy, Sigurdarson, Ismail. Subs: Doherty, Ikeme, Reckford, Forde, Evans, Price, McAlinden, Griffiths.

Scorers: Barnsley 2 (Mellis 5, O’Grady 57); Wolves 2 (Ismail 2, Batth 20).