Oakwell kids set to take centre stage

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BARNSLEY boss Mark Robins has pledged to give youth a chance in the club’s two final fixtures of the season.

The Reds twice fought back from behind to snatch a late draw at home to South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Rovers on Easter Monday.

And Robins was not afraid to throw in young guns Danny Rose, Jordan Clark and Reuben Noble-Lazarus into the action.

Midfielder Noble-Lazarus, who had a trial with Manchester United last season, played for 75 minutes and didn’t look out of place in his first start of the season.

Forwards Clark and Rose both featured as late second half substitutes while regular first team youngster Jacob Butterfield and Kieran Trippier both play full games.

Chelsea loan youngster Jacob Mellis also started in what was the youngest side the Reds have fielded this season.

“We’ve got a very young squad, but then I’ve got a track record of giving youngsters an opportunity,” Robins told The Star. “It they [the young players] keep working hard I will give them opportunities.

“These kids are not guaranteed their place in the team, but if they keep showing that application and desire they will get their chance.

“It’s a good position to be in now with two games remaining, I’m happy to give the younger players a chance.

“I think we had six players under 20 in our team for the Doncaster match, which is great for the football club.

“It’s a balancing act of blooding these youngsters and giving them their chance.”

The Reds are currently 18th in the table and 11 points clear of the relegation.

At no point this season has the club feared the worst and got sucked into a scrap at the bottom of the league, but the Oakwell outfit have hovered around mid-table for most of the campaign.

But with two games to play, against Sheffield United on Saturday and Millwall on the final weekend of the season, Robins wants his side to finish strongly and secure their highest finish for five seasons. The Reds only need two more points to equal last season’s final points’ tally - and Robins wants them to better last term’s final finish of 18th.

“There’s still a lot to play for, we’re always looking to improve,” added Robins.

“We could have beaten Doncaster, but the frustrating thing was that we conceded two soft goals.

“We scored two good goals, but we’ve been too inconsistent for the season and we need to improve on that.

“I have been frustrated because I know we can do much better, but as I’ve said this is a young squad with a lot of potential.”