Barnsley: Kevin longs for game time

Kevin Long - brings some steel to Barnsley
Kevin Long - brings some steel to Barnsley

New Barnsley signing Kevin Long is hoping he can bring some solidity to the club’s leaky defence.

The Reds have shipped 17 goals in eight successive league defeats, the club’s worst losing run since 1959.

And another defeat at Oldham Athletic this afternoon would be the first time since 1953 that the club have lost nine matches in a row.

“I’m not looking at that past, I’m only looking to the future,” stressed Long, who has joined the Reds on a one month loan spell from Burnley.

“I’ve spoken to the manager and he said they could have probably won seven of the eight games they’ve lost, so that shows how tight the games were.

“Hopefully we can win a few games now I’m here.

“It’s a young squad, but if I can help while I’m here, well I’m really looking forward to doing that.

“Hopefully if I train well the gaffer will put me in the team and I can do well.

“I’m here initially for a month, but I’ve not looked ahead at anything longer.

“I just want to focus on this month and see what happens.”

Irishman Long, 25, has not played a professional match yet this season with injury having frustrated him during the last year.

But the centre-back has trained with Burnley for the past few months and Reds boss Johnson has revealed he is happy to throw the defender straight in at the deep end for his first match since New Year’s Day.

“I’ve been out for about ten months with an anterior cruciate ligament injury” reflected Long, who has had previous loan spells with Accrington Stanley, Rochdale and Portsmouth.

“But for the last three months I’ve been training hard at Burnley and I knew it would be good to get out on loan again and get games under my belt.

“Thankfully I got the opportunity to come to Barnsley – and hopefully I’ll get the chance to come and play some games.

“It was always on my mind to get back out on loan. To be honest I’ve been craving it for a while.

“Sean Dyche told me there was an opportunity to join Barnsley, so I jumped at the chance.

“I’ve spoken to Lee Johnson and he seems an honest guy, which I like.

“And I know Conor Hourihane, live in Manchester which isn’t far away, so it just seemed a good fit.

“It does help when you know someone, but even if I didn’t know anyone here I know it’s a great club, a great stadium and great training facilities, so it was always going to be an easy choice.”

Long is understandably keen to get some action having spent so long on the sidelines.

“I’m looking to get game time, the only way you can improve as a player is by playing games,” he said. “At Burnley we’re second in the league and the two lads ahead of me are flying, so I can’t really complain about not playing.

“But I think I’m at an age where I need to be playing, so hopefully a loan spell will benefit me.”