Manager Danny Wilson kicked Brek Shea out of Barnsley yesterday with the message that if you disrespect the fans, you disrespect the club.
The 24-year-old winger was sent back to parent club Stoke City three weeks before the end of his three-month loan deal for a gesture made to Reds supporters who had endured their side’s miserable 5-0 defeat at Huddersfield Town 10 days ago.
Shea was not involved on Saturday when Barnsley began to regain the faith of their supporters with a rousing 1-0 win over promotion hopefuls Nottingham Forest.
He met with Wilson 48 hours before that to clear the air and then issued a public apology to Reds fans the following day.
But it was not enough to salvage a loan spell that lasted 10 weeks and eight games.
With every game vital in Barnsley’s fight for survival, Wilson has shown in dismissing Shea that he has no time for players who upset the harmony of the dressing room or, more pertinently, the relationship between the club and its fans.
“There were one or two things that went off that were unsavoury and we have to make sure this thing doesn’t escalate or have an impact on the team,” he said. “What we don’t want is anything acrimonious towards the team.
On the meeting he had with Shea, Wilson added: “It wasn’t just about me looking in the whites of his eyes to see what was going on, the whole issue was about the reaction fan-wise.
“What we did is for the benefit of everybody, the fans included.
“We have to be 100 per cent sure everybody is pulling in the same direction.”
On the pitch, Barnsley look to strengthen their survivial bid by pulling off an even more unlikely result than they managed against Forest. Visitors Leicester have not lost for 14 games, leading Wilson to call them a “Premier League team in waiting” before warning: “They’ll come here knowing we’re not going to lie down to get our bellies tickled. They’ll come expecting a fight and they’ll get one. If we can beat them our confidence would be sky high.”
Last six games: Barnsley DDLWLW, Leicester WWDDWW.
Last time: Barnsley 2 Leicester 0; April 1, 2013; Championship.
Referee: M Heywood (Cheshire).