NEW signing Martin Cranie is hoping to force his way into Barnsley’s starting line-up for tomorrow’s away trip to Brighton.
The former Coventry City defender/midfielder is hungry to play as much Championship football as possible this season.
But Cranie, who trained with Leeds United in pre-season having turned down a new deal with the Sky Blues, knows he can’t afford to take anything for granted with stiff competition for place along the back four, particularly in his favoured position of centre-back.
“I wanted to play Championship football again this season, I didn’t want to drop down a division,” Cranie told The Star. “But I know I’ve got to work hard to stay in the team here and, when I do, hopefully stay in the team as long as I can. Hopefully we can have a good season.
“I can play a number of positions, but my preferred position is at centre-half, so I’d like to play there if I can.
“It’s a competitive league and it’s getting tougher each year, the teams that are going down seem to be better and the teams that are coming up seem better.
“I didn’t really feel as though I was going to get a regular first team place with Leeds every week, so as soon as I spoke to the gaffer [Keith Hill] then I decided this was the right club for me.
“I spoke to a few clubs including Crystal Palace but nothing was certain. Keith made me feel more welcome than anyone else.”
Former England Under-21 international Cranie played more than 100 times for City and was sad to see the club relegated, but the 25-year-old knew he had to move to keep his ambition of playing in the Premier League one day alive.
“This year’s going to be a tough season, but we showed against Middlesbrough that on the day anyone can beat anyone,” added Cranie.
“I was gutted at Coventry last season when we got relegated. It’s a big club and no one expected us to go down.
“We’re tipped for relegation but whose to say we can’t beat anybody in this league?
“We’ve got to go into every game with a positive frame of mind and make sure we perform on the day.
“Brighton are a good footballing team, but they’ve not been scoring as many goals so we’ve got to go there and start on the front foot and hopefully get three pints down there.
Wingers Jim O’Brien, Matty Done and Toni Silva, striker Mido, defenders Jimmy McNulty and John Stones, goalkeeper Luke Steele, midfielders Reuben Noble-Lazarus, David Perkins and Paul Digby are all injured, while keeper Ben Alnwick has one match of his ban to serve.