Barnsley: Marley Watkins wants to see Reds build on strong start after international break

Barnsley's Marley Watkins
Barnsley's Marley Watkins
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Marley Watkins wants Barnsley to carry on the momentum after they return from the international break.

The Reds have exceeded expectations with a blistering start to the new campaign in the second tier, winning three of their five opening games - including a 4-0 thrashing of South Yorkshire rivals Rotherham United.

With 12 goals so far, the most in the league, the Oakwell club have sky-rocketed into third in the Championship.

Barnsley get back to action on Saturday with a trip across the Pennines to face second-from-bottom Preston North End.

Despite the squad being used to the hectic schedule of League One, Watkins fully expects them to be ready to fire on all cylinders after the extended rest.

Although the Reds have started the season brightly, the former Inverness Caledonian Thistle man wants them to up the standard and he is chomping at the bit to get back on the field.

“If anything we should look at it as a positive because of the extra rest,” Watkins told The Star.

“Everyone’s in the same boat and we just have to deal with it.

“Physically it’s a tough league on the body so having the rest is a real positive for the players.

“It helps with getting the legs back after a tough couple of weeks but I’m really looking forward to getting back into it after a few days off.

“We just have to get straight back on it and continue what we’ve been doing with and without the ball.

“It’s just a case of picking up from where we left off and to improve on that and that’s the plan.

“We’ve set our standards and we need to improve now.”

There is still a real buzz around Oakwell, and the town, after the club’s double play-off and Jonhstone’s Paint Trophy success last term.

The Reds have strengthened the squad since then and Watkins believes it is a real exciting time for the club.

“We know what we went through last season and it makes us stronger as a group,” added Watkins, who was subject to a rejected £1m bid from Ipswich on deadline day.

“There’s a real family feel around the club and we’ve made some great additions to the team.

“It’s really exciting stuff around the club, it’s really positive and I love it here.

“I haven’t seen much of the players who have come in yet but they all have really good reputations so it bodes well for us.

“Ultimately we’re all going to improve from it so it’s great for the club.”