BARNSLEY boss David Flitcroft admits he’s come a long way since being taught a “footballing lesson” by Middlesbrough.
Fresh into management in the Championship as Keith Hill’s assistant, Flitcroft watched in horror – and admiration – as Boro beat the Reds 3-1 at Oakwell in only his fourth game at the club.
But following that defeat in August 2011 the Reds went on a spirited seven game unbeaten run and, 16 months later, it is Flitcroft who is now first team boss and trying to help the club avoid Championship relegation.
And although today’s opponents Boro offer a tough test for the Reds, Flitcroft is confident his improving charges – unbeaten in their last six matches – are capable of springing a surprise against the promotion-chasers at the Riverside Stadium.
They beat Boro 1-0 at Oakwell at the start of the season.
“That [defeat] was a milestone for us [Keith and I] because when we first started out we got a footballing lesson from them,” admitted Flicroft. “We’ve come a long way since then, though.”
Boro boss Tony Mowbray lent the Reds winger Cameron Park in the same month, although injury unfortunately prevented the player only featuring for three games.
And although Park is highly unlikely to feature this weekend, Flitcroft knows that Boro possess plenty more quality.
“They’ve got good strikers, but they scored goals from all over the pitch,” added Flitcroft, who is hoping to bring John Stones back to Oakwell on loan. “They’ve not just got one goalscorer like Charlie Austin or Glenn Murray, so we know about their threats.”
Flitcroft, meanwhile, has revealed that a deal to bring former Reds midfielder Brian Howard is on hold.