Barnsley: In defence of the JPT

Lewin Nyatanga is looking forward to the JPT
Lewin Nyatanga is looking forward to the JPT
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Barnsley defender Lewin Nyatanga is adamant the club should embrace this weekend’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area Semi-final with Wigan Athletic.

The Reds have struggled badly in League One this season, but there’s been very few problems in the JPT competition.

Impressive performances have left the Reds just three games away from a mouth-watering Wembley final showdown.

And Nyatanga, having missed out on two Wembley finals, is desperate to make it third time lucky.

“I’ve been to Wembley twice, but I was injured on one of those occasions and the other match I didn’t make the match day squad,” Nytanaga.

“So I’d obviously love to play there. Playing at such an amazing stadium and in an occasion like that would be brilliant.

“As a footballer playing at Wembley is a real highlight, but we all know we’ve got a lot of hard work to do before we can get there.

“But we’ve got nothing to fear against Wigan. They’re a good side, but we want to go all the way to Wembley and would love to win it.”

Victories over Scunthorpe United, Bradford City and York City – all by 2-1 scorelines – has seen the Reds reach this stage of the competition.

One more win would yield a two-leg national semi-final, with the winner of that match earning the chance to play at Wembley on Sunday 3 April.

And Nyatanga believes Saturday’s clash with the Latics at the DW Stadium is a welcome distraction from the league.

The Reds have lost nine of their last 11 league matches and rooted to the bottom of the division.

But it’s not yet even halfway in the campaign and Nyatanga has been around long enough in the game to realise a few wins could completely change the direction of Barnsley’s season.

“It’s [football] a strange game, we’ve found it hard in the league and for some reason we’ve done really well in the JPT,” reflected Nyatnaga. “But this game, well the pressure’s off us in some respects.”