Paul Digby is chomping at the bit to make his mark for Barnsley, writes Neil Goulding.
And the talented teenager was given the full backing of the Championship club this week when he penned a new four-year deal with the Reds.
Digby only signed a new two-year deal last season to stay at the club until 2015.
But such was the Reds’ desire to hold on to a player whom they regard as one of their ‘prized assets’, that a new deal was struck for the 18-year-old midfielder to commit his future until 2017 at Oakwell.
Digby is the only youngster at the club to have signed such a deal, although the Reds do have many other young players like Jordan Clark and Danny Rose signed up until the end of the next season, while midfielder Reuben Noble-Lazarus until 2015.
Jake Scott, Rhys Oates, Sam Patterson, Matty Stead, Christian Dibble, Andrai Jones and Wade Joyce are all highly-regarded at Oakwell, but Digby stands alone as the one player to have been offered a generous four-year contract.
“I heard last week that the club wanted to keep me, so I sat down with my agent and he said the club wanted to keep me for another four years,” revealed Digby. “We discussed various things and I was obviously thrilled to sign.
“I’ve kept it a bit of a secret over the last week, so I’m really thrilled now it’s all done.
“I just want to get into the team this season and prove myself.
“It’s such a big deal signing a young player. There’s a lot of risk signing a young player because getting a contract can go to your head.
“But I’m just glad the club have put their faith in me and want me to be part of their future plans. That gives me a massive confident boost.
“The boss [David Flitcroft] has always put faith in me even when I was injured and always said to me that I would come back stronger, mentally and physically.”