Stephen McPhail is relishing his return to Barnsley today though he knows he looks set for a hostile reception from home fans.
Wednesday’s new midfield player once turned his back on the Reds only a few weeks after helping them achieve promotion to the Championship with a play-off final victory against Swansea.
He was lured to Cardiff City by Dave Jones, in 2006, and his latest link-up with the then Bluebirds manager has made him an important part of the Owls efforts to earn a first win of the season at Oakwell today. “Barnsley offered me a new contract, I was really close to signing it but turned it down,” says the midfielder who moved to Oakwell from Leeds. “I’d been living in this area since I was 15 and wanted a new challenge, and saw Cardiff’s ambition to move forward.
“They were going places at the time, and going to get the new stadium built.” Barnsley said at the time that his exit was a disappointment.
He added: “I’ve been back a few times and usually get some stick. But I’m really looking forward to going back.
“Barnsley gave me the opportunity to play, week in, week out; I enjoyed my time there, and winning the play-off final was great. This is a local derby and it’s a great game to play in. It’s a good place to play, and I always like playing there.”
He has impressed Owls fans since his signing last month, in the wake of his release from Cardiff.
And he is enjoying his game: “Our fans have been brilliant. As a team we’re confident. It will be a massive relief when we get that first win, and it would be great to get it on Saturday.
“I feel like I’m playing well, and getting on the ball and trying to get us playing a bit.
“We’ve had some good performances but I’d take a bad performance on Saturday so long as we get three points.”