Barnsley young gun Paul Digby is chomping at the bit to make his mark for the Reds first team this season.
But the 18-year-old prospect, who penned a new four-year deal at Oakwell on Monday won’t rush his comeback from a troublesome hip injury to make sure he hits the heights in the Championship when he’s fully fit.
Digby, a product of the Reds Academy, missed all of last season and had a hip operation over the summer to resolve his problem.
“I’m not 100 per cent fit yet, but the boss [David Flitcroft] knows that and we’ve had chats about my training schedule because obviously I can’t be thrown back in at the deep end after a season out with injury,” revealed Digby, who is currently nursing a thigh strain.
“I’m going to get there, to full fitness, eventually. It’s going to be slower than I’d like, but I know if I push myself too much I’ll get injuries and break down again. That’s the last thing we want, but we’re getting there slowly.”
Digby, who is delighted to have committed his future to the Championship side for the foreseeable future, knows he’s going to face strong competition to command a starting role this season for the Reds.
He’s vying with fellow midfielders David Perkins, Stephen Dawson, Jacob Mellis, Kelvin Etuhu, Tomasz Cywka and Jim O’Brien
“Everyone is fighting for that place in midfielder,” added Digby. “We’ve got some brilliant central midfielders at the club, but it’s really healthy competition.
“I’m learning off the senior players every day - and that’s great for me. I’m learning lots, even when I was injured last season.”
“I’m delighted to have signed the new deal, I’m excited about being here for the next four years.
“Hopefully we can progress as a club.”