Promotion with Reds best of bunch for Pinnock

Winning promotion is not a new thing for Barnsley defender Ethan Pinnock, but his latest was his most special.

Ethan Pinnock
Ethan Pinnock

The central defender played every game for the Reds as they marched to automatic promotion from League One.

His form was a key reason for their rise and he was recognised by winning the club's player of the season award, while also being named in the EFL and PFA divisional teams of the year.

Pinnock's career path is not the most traditional as he did not make a Football League appearance until his Barnsley debut in 2017 at the age of 24.

Previously he played for Dulwich Hamlet and Forest Green when they were still in the National League.

He tasted promotion with both of them, signing off with Rovers by helping them into the Football League for the first time in their history with a play-off win against Tranmere at Wembley.

They were big moments for the 26-year-old, but they do not compare to the promotion he has just experienced with the Reds.

“I have had a promotion in non-league and then one with Forest Green,” he said.

“But to get promoted automatically from League One is brilliant and it is another level.

“A lot of them (at Dulwich) congratulated me.

“Even at Forest Green, I still keep in touch with a few of the boys there, even though I was only there for a year.

“I am just really thankful for all the support they have given me, which has helped kick me on.

“It was quite a few leagues down when I started at Dulwich and I was there until I was 22 or 23.

“I can be seen as a ‘late bloomer’ but I feel as though I have really kicked on well this season under the new gaffer.

“He has got us playing really good football with high energy and I think it has really worked.”

Pinnock's first season at Oakwell was not the best as he only managed 15 appearances in a side that were relegated from the Championship.

But being able to bounce back straight away has made the defender proud.

Pinnock added: “It really has motivated us. Last season was disappointing and the aim was to try and get back up straight away.

“We knew it was really difficult as a lot of teams plan that and it does not always happen.

“But the lads have showed the belief and determination and put the hard work in and thoroughly deserved to be where we are.”