Barnsley: Reds midfielder who excites the boss

Jacob Mellis fires home his first goal for Barnsley against the Millers
Jacob Mellis fires home his first goal for Barnsley against the Millers
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Perhaps Jacob Mellis is developing a soft spot for the New York Stadium. If he’s that way inclined, it might be a bit more to him than just another ground.

Just over a year ago, the Barnsley midfielder carved out a little piece of history for Rotherham United’s £21 million ground by becoming the first person to score a goal there.

It came in the Stadium’s first ever game, a pre-season friendly which Barnsley lost 2-1.

On Saturday, he went one better with two goals but just missed out on another little historic note - the first person to score a hat-trick there.

Shortly after he had added a second goal to his cracking opener, he had a clear opening deep inside the area only to drag his shot across the goal face. It was hacked clear and, to some, it may look to have been on its way in but it was actually going wide.

All pre-season frippary of course. The 22-year-old, whose career began at Sheffield United before being whsiked away by Chelsea when only 16, will be more concerned about a starting place for Barsley at home to Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

His manager David Flitcroft, eulogising over the quality of his top corner strike for Safurday’s first goal, admitted: “I’d pay to watch him play.”

He went on: “He excites me and we have seen what a special talent he is but it’s my duty to get the best out of him.

“I see the other side of him working hard for the team and the lads see how much he does and they adore him for that.”

Flitcroft said he was pleased all the senior players got 90 minutes or near enough by playing at either Rotherham or, also on Saturday, at Frickley... “we’re in a good place,” he said.