Barnsley: Keith Treacy reslishing return to Bramall Lane for derby against former club Sheffield United

Keith Treacy.
Keith Treacy.
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Barnsley midfielder Keith Treacy knows first hand about the bragging rights secured for winning a South Yorkshire derby.

And the former Republic of Ireland international hopes he is on the winning side as the Reds clash with the Blades at Bramall Lane tomorrow.

But Treacy admits he has no idea what type of reception he’ll get from the Blades’ supporters when he returns to his former club.

Dubliner Treacy spent an enjoyable six-month loan spell with United between July and December 2009.

However the 26-year-old blotted his copy book with some Blades fans when he joined arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday for a brief loan spell just over three years later.

“I had a brilliant time with Sheffield United, I’ve got lots of fond memories of playing for the club,” Treacy told The Star.

“Kevin Blackwell was the manager and he was brilliant with me. I really enjoy playing for him. I absolutely loved playing for the club, too.

“I was at Blackburn [Rovers] at the time and I remember [the manager] Sam Allardyce wanted me to be go to Sheffield United and get some games under my belt.

“To be honest I jumped at the chance. Kevin wanted me to come and do a job for the club and I quickly found out what a great club it is.

“I enjoyed my time there I don’t really know whether there was ever chance of joining the club permanently to be honest, but I ended up joining Preston and that’s how my career panned out after that.

“It will be great to go back to Bramall Lane, but I’ve also played on loan at Wednesday as well, so we’ll have to see what reception I get when I go back there.

“Either way I’ll be professional and do my best to try and help us get the victory we want. But I’d like to think I’ll get a decent reception. Hopefully I will.”

Treacy played 16 times for the Blades on his loan spell with the club, before playing his part in an Owls side which won promotion back to the Championship in 2012.

And three days before the new season was due to kick off, the Irishman agreed a deal with the Reds after his three-year contract with Burnley had come to an end.

Unfortunately a lack of pre-season training, and being thrust into first team action earlier than expected, has hampered Treacy’s progress this term.

But the winger believes he is now close to full fitness and is chomping at the bit to try and force his way into the Reds’ side for Saturday’s derby.

“I’d love to play on Saturday, there’s always something special about South Yorkshire derbies, any derbies,” said Treacy.

“I’ve played in the Wednesday v United derby and that was a great occasion.

“Winning these derby matches means so much to the fans and also to the players.

“My season has been a bot staggered to far, probably because I’ve not done a proper a pre-season this year and I’ve been playing catch-up.

“And then I played a few games to help the team early in the season which probably didn’t do me a lot of good.

“I’ve still got a little bit to go, but I’d love to play my part for the team on Saturday.”

The Reds go into this weekend’s fixture on the back of a battling 2-2 home draw with League One leaders Bristol City, while the Blades are flying on a six-game unbeaten run.

“We know it’s going to be a tough game because United playing well at the moment,” Treacy added.

“But we seem to raise our game for some reason against the form sides. We seem to play our best football.

“There’s a lot of little things we need to tweak to get things exactly right, but we feel we’re getting there.”

“Going forward,” Treacy added, “we look great and we’re having no problem scoring, but we need to stop conceding goals.

“If we can keep a cleansheet most games then I think we’ll start winning a lot more games.

“But collectively we have to defend better from the front and then throughout the team. It’s something we’ve been working hard on as a team.”