New loan signing Joe Wildsmith is ready to put in a star performance on his Barnsley debut today.
Sheffield Wednesday shot-stopper Wildsmith is expected to be thrown straight in at the deep end, as the resurgent Reds host League One table-toppers Bristol City.
With current keeper Adam Davies sidelined with an abductor strain, highly-rated teenager Wildsmith is hoping to do everything in his power to help the Reds stretch their impressive unbeaten run to nine games.
And personally the Owls’ keeper wants to show just what’s he’s capable of in league football.
“It’s a great move for me, hopefully it’s the next step in my career,” admitted 19-year-old Wildsmith.
“I went to Alfreton Town on loan at the end of last season and got some welcome game-time.
“But to come to a League One side is a massive jump for me, so hopefully it’s a level I can be successful at. I’m going to try and do the best I can and do the best I can for Barnsley.
“The best way for me to get first team football this year is by coming out loan, so I’m really looking forward to the challenge.
The Reds go on their travels having won six of their last eight matches and just one point off the play-off places.
And with just eight games remaining this season there’s little maneuver for bad results, otherwise the club’s play-off hopes could be quickly extinguished.
England Under-20 international Wildsmith added: “I’ve been playing in the Under-21s at Sheffield Wednesday and I got a call from Barnsley saying there were interested.
“It’s all very well getting Under-21 games, but what I need now for the next step in my career is men’s football.
“I know [Barnsley’s goalkeeping coach] Mark Crossley from time at Sheffield Wednesday, he was the academy coach back then at the club.
“And he’s spoken to the Sheffield Wednesday gaffer and sorted out a move for me here.
“I’ve know Mark for the last two years now and I always got along with him at Sheffield Wednesday.
“I train with the first team every day at Sheffield Wednesday and it’s great experience.
“But now that’s the chance to get some recognition at this higher level.”
Reds boss Lee Johnson could welcome back midfielders Ben Pearson and Josh Scowen for this weekend’s tough clash at Ashton Gate.
Manchester United loanee Pearson has recovered from illness, while Scowen is back from a hamstring strain.
“We can win this game, there’s no doubt about that,” said Johnson. “There’s no fear just because they’re top of the league.
“I came to the game between the two sides earlier in the season and Barnsley should have beaten Bristol City.
“Barnsley were 2-0 up and Bristol City got it back to 2-2 to draw the match.
“So the players feel as if they’ve got their number if you like, so far as they know their weaknesses.
“And like I’ve said it’s about them [Bristol] still being in the moment of winning the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last week, but realising they can tactically beat us.”