Martin Cranie is adamant that Barnsley have “nothing to be afraid of” when they kick off the new Championship season at home to Wigan Athletic today.
Defender Cranie is relishing the arrival of last season’s FA Cup winners, even through the Latics have strengthened considerably over the summer.
“We got a massive boost from the end of last season, to be honest: the results we got [to avoid relegation] were brilliant,” he said.
“We know we can compete with the big teams in the league now - and we’ve got nothing to be afraid of.
“We’ve got a good [ex] Premier League team coming here, but there’s no reason why we can’t get the three points.
“The three teams that came down last year struggled, so you never know how they’re going to do.
“They might have not gelled yet, but it’s about concentrating on what we do ourselves. If we do that then we’ll be fine.”
Reds boss David Flitcroft expects a tough opener: “You see the squad he [Owen Coyle] has assembled and you can see there’s a lot of quality there,” said Flitcroft.
“He’s spent a load of money [£750,000] on a goalkeeper [Scott Carson] and he’s brought in eight or nine other players, so you can see their intentions from the outset.
“We’re expecting a tough game, but we’re looking forward to it. I just can’t wait to get the game underway and get the season going. ”
Midfielders Kelvin Etuhu (hamstring) and Paul Digby (thigh) are the only Reds players missing with injury, while the Latics are still without skipper Gary Caldwell. The midfielder is one crutches for at least another two weeks after a double hip operation last season.
Meanwhile, promising Reds midfielder Jordan Clark joined Scunthorpe yesterday on a one-month deal. He will be ineligible for the Capital One Cup tie at Oakwell on Tuesday.