Duo in battle for Barnsley keeper’s jersey

Lee Johnson: Has challenged his two young keepers to claim the jersey
Lee Johnson: Has challenged his two young keepers to claim the jersey
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Barnsley boss Lee Johnson has a goalkeeping dilemma on his hands.

Adam Davies and Nick Townsend are both fighting it out to be the Reds’ regular number one.

And that mean Johnson knows one player is going to be disappointed to be left on the sidelines.

“We’ve got two young keepers and they two are excellent young goalkeepers,” said Johnson.

“It’s difficult because they’re joint number ones really and one of them has to come to the fore mentally, be strong, and say ‘this is my shirt.’

“Both have made mistakes this year and both have made fantastic saves this year.”

Former Birmingham City shot-stopper Townsend has started the Reds last two games and they haven’t lost.

Ex Sheffield Wednesday keeper Davies, meanwhile, started the season and has played six games so far.

“At the moment, it’s a toss of a coin job and it’s up to one of them to take the mantle,” admitted Johnson.

“Sometimes young players can fear that sort of challenge but they shouldn’t, they should embrace it, and they’ve both got an equal opportunity to progress.”

Johnson’s side are unbeaten in two outings and up to 11th in the table, just a couple of points off the top six.

But three tough away games follow Saturday’s home clash with Gillingham – and Johnson knows his charges will have to be mentally focused to succeed.

“As our players get used to each other more, it will get better and those little partnerships [between the players] will almost become telepathic,” stressed Johnson.

“Whenever I’ve played in teams that have done well it’s because we’ve been settled, we’ve worked on things and actually the harder you work, the more the telepathy comes.

“It’s not really telepathy, its just playing with people. You have to make sure you consistently work on those things.”

* Barnsley striker George Maris has joined Guiseley AFC on an initial one-month loan deal.

Former Academy scholar Maris penned his first professional contract with the Reds in May last year and then extended that initial one-year deal by a further year in May this year.

He made his full Barnsley debut in the final game of last season when the Reds hammered Rochdale 5-0 at Oakwell.

And boss Lee Johnson was keen to get the 19-year-old games having faced stiff competition for a run in the club’s first team.

Maris has made two Reds appearances so far during his fledgling career and is expected to feature tonight for Guiseley against Southport in the Conference Premier.