Barnsley: Doubters have spurred Reds on, says O’Brien

Jim O'Brien battles for the ball with Wolves skipper Karl Henry
Jim O'Brien battles for the ball with Wolves skipper Karl Henry
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Barnsley winger Jim O’Brien will celebrate with a well-deserved cold beer on Saturday night if the club retain their Championship survival.

Victory for the Reds away to Yorkshire derby rivals Huddersfield Town this weekend would guarantee an eighth season in the English second tier.

Defeat would see the Reds relegated, while a draw would leave the club’s fate dependent on the results of other relegation-threatened clubs.

But O’Brien doesn’t want to be remembered as a “nearly man” and is determined to inspire the Reds to victory.

“It would be an incredible achievement if we could do it [stay up],” revealed O’Brien.

“Nobody wants to be remembered as a ‘nearly man’. It would mean so much to the players, the club and the whole town if we stay up.

“People have been writing us of all season, but that’s only ever spurred me on.

“When people write you off it only makes me more determined to succeed.

“We’ve come this far and put ourselves in a great position to stay up. Our destiny is still in our own hands.

“But I’ve never personally thought about relegation, even though we were struggling at Christmas.”

The Reds were rooted to the foot of the table and former boss Keith Hill paid the price for a succession of poor results when he lost his job.

But Hill’s former assistant David Flitcroft has guided the Reds to some fine victories and the players have responded to his leadership in providing a platform to stay up.

“As individuals we all felt guilty when Keith’s departure because we felt we’d let him down,” admitted O’Brien.

“But we’ve never stopped fighting since Flicker [Flitcroft] took over. We lost to Peterborough in his first game in charge and after the dust settled we took took stock. The confidence we got from that game, even though we lost it, was just amazing. It’s strange to say that, but it’s true.”

Midfielder Stephen Dawson returns from a three-match suspension.