Tom Kennedy has admitted he faces a real fight to command a regular starting spot in Barnsley’s first team.
But the versatile defender, formerly of Bury, Rochdale, Leicester City and Peterborough United, is happy to have healthy competition for places as the Reds look to start the new Championship strongly.
Defender Kennedy had no hesitation in committing his future to the South Yorkshire club this summer – in fact he was one of the first players to sign a new deal at Oakwell.
The 28-year-old, who can play in a variety of positions including central defence and left-back, penned a new two-year contract with the Reds.
And he hopes his versatility will give him plenty of opportunities to build on some of his starting performances last term.
“There’s lots of competition for places – and that’s healthy,” revealed Kennedy, speaking exclusively to the Green’Un.
“We’ve got a pretty young squad and everyone is hungry to play.
“I think it was really important the gaffer [David Flitcroft] kept hold of a lot of players from last year, it means we’ve got a settled squad with the additions of a few quality new players.
“And Chris O’Grady was a massive signing for us. What Chris does, well, not many other strikers can do.
“He’s not just a target man, it’s his distribution and his all-round play. He’s integral to the way we play and it gives us the option to play three or four different ways around him.
“I think some teams might get a bit of a shock with the way we can adapt to certain situations and matches this season.”
Kennedy was an ever-present in the Reds team last season, especially with left-back Scott Golbourne – who had a great season until he got injured – having spent the majority of the season on the sidelines.
But Golbourne is back this season having recovered from the knee injury which curtailed last season’s campaign.
And Kennedy is looking forward to contesting the left-back spot with the former Bristol, Reading and Exeter City full-back, another player who can play in a variety of positions.
“Goldy [Golbourne] was phenomenal last season until he got injured, so it’s great to have him back,” admitted Kennedy.
“We can play a number of formations so there’s no reason why we can’t both play in the same team.
“He can play on the left-wing, as a left-wing back and left-back, and I can play in the centre of defence and on the left, which means we’ve got lots of options.
“It’s good to have them because you never know when you’re going to get injuries during the season.
“The competition to start is going to make us better players and that’s something I’m really looking forward too. I’m always going to have to be on my toes!”