BARNSLEY’s youngsters are making sure the club are firing on all fronts.
The Reds first team have gone six games unbeaten in their best run this season and reached the FA Cup fifth round, but the Under-18s are also earning plaudits for an exciting run in the FA Youth Cup.
Victories over Oxford United and Stevenage Borough have earned them a mouth-watering clash with Chelseas, at Staines Town a week on Friday, 7pm.
The Reds are looking for revenge, having been knocked out by Chelsea at the same stage two seasons ago. Chelsea went on to win the trophy that season; they have won it on two other occasions and twice been beaten finalists.
But for Barnsley Academy coach Chris Howarth, the match presents a great chance to spring an upset. The winners will face Manchester City or Derby away.
“A good run in the youth cup is great for everybody,” said Howarth. “It’s important people see the players we’ve got coming through, because we’ve got some very good players.”
The Reds beat an Oxford side who had won 14 games on the bounce, then beat Stevenage 4-3 in the last round last week.
But Howarth admitted his side made hard work for themselves, having led 3-0 within half an hour and been forced to hang for their victory late on.
“I’m disappointed because we didn’t do things as well as we should have done,” added Howarth.
“We know we’re capable of a lot better, but the main thing is we’re though to the next round. The lads have showed a bit of spirit to dig in and get a result.
“We’re just delighted to get through.”