BARNSLEY’S young wing star Jacob Butterfield is thriving on the additional pressure for him to shine at Oakwell under new manager Keith Hill.
Bradford-born Butterfield, aged 21, broke through to make a total of 41 appearances for the Reds last season, but now seven new signings have been drafted in so far under Hill, the competition is set to be much more intense.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s latest home pre-season clash against Sheffield Wednesday, Butterfield said: “Pressure is part of the game. I think players perform better when they’re under that sort of pressure. You have to perform well or else you’ll be out of the team. I’ve got plenty of belief in myself though, and I believe I’m good enough to play in this team.
“Hopefully I’ll have a big part to play this season. Last season I broke into the team and got a good run of games – I started to show people what I’m all about really.
“Obviously a new manager coming in changes things a bit, but hopefully I can carry on from where I left off and kick on this year. I need to try and set an example to some of the younger players too.”
Butterfield went on: “I feel good, I’ve felt quite sharp in the opening few games. We’ve had a really hard pre-season. We went to Spain and it was a tough week over there, but I feel ready to get stuck into it now.
“It was so hot in Spain, but the routine was wake up early, train in the morning then rest up in the afternoon, then train again later. The heat was unbelievable, but while we were there we knew full well that we’d feel the benefits once we got back. And that’s proved to be the case – I feel so fit and sharp now.
“The new gaffer’s come in and while we know we can score goals, he does want us to work on conceding less. The last two seasons we’ve had a negative goal difference, so now the gaffer wants us to be defending from a more solid base.
“Add that to the talented players we’ve got going forward and we have been scoring lots of goals though. We’ve been looking more ruthless in front of goal so that has to be a good thing.”
Butterfield clearly feels comfortable working with Hill so far, adding: “He’s very demanding and very hard working, but obviously he’s different and while we have to get used to him, he has to get used to us too.
“We’re all settling into his style though, and we’re understanding how he wants us to play. I’m enjoying working for him.”
Striker Andy Gray remains a Reds injury doubt for tonight’s game at Oakwell.
Admission costs £12 for adults and £6 concessions.Kick-off is 7.30pm.