Davies is cut above as Reds seek to build on their Blues mauling

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THE famous catchphrase ‘You’re a Star’ catapulted many a talent into the big time on 70s’ hit show New Faces, recorded at the old ATV studios in Birmingham.

Barnsley striker Craig Davies, who although born in Burton on Trent is a bonafide Brummie brought up in the second city, is not exactly a new face at 26, but has now certainly made himself known to many in the West Midlands who didn’t particularly know who he was.

That all changed seven days ago, with the Tykes frontman – raised not too far away from St Andrews and a boyhood Birmingham City fan – heaping a whole load of misery upon Lee Clark’s Blues. He fired four second-half goals in a sensational 19-minute burst as Barnsley humiliated the hosts in a 5-0 televised drubbing.

With Barnsley boss Keith Hill having given his players a few days off this week as a reward for their stunning weekend win, the stand-out result of the Championship season so far, Davies – who had his hair cut on the Bordesley Green Road close to Blues’ home the day before mowing down City’s defence – has suddenly been noticing he has become a recognised face in Brum after being largely ignored in the past.

Davies, hoping to inflict more pain on the Blues today, in the shape of under-pressure Paul Jewell’s Ipswich Town who visit Oakwell, told the Yorkshire Post, said: “I have been in Birmingham a bit this week, and a lot of people I have never seen before now know who I am.

“It’s been nice to hear people from my own area looking over and saying: ‘He scored four.’

“I was coming out of the gym on Tuesday night and some guys started shouting: ‘Blues!’. I turned around and looked and they started laughing!

“I have quite a few friends who are Birmingham fans and they were obviously annoyed with the team, but happy for me in terms of what I had achieved.

“Somebody did say they were going to put money on me to score I think, but I cannot remember who it was.

“Growing up, I supported Blues, but they were never in the top division, so I supported Arsenal and then the teams met in the Carling Cup final. But I was happy when Birmingham won.”

Despite his goal exploits – all the more remarkable considering he had been struggling with a groin niggle of late – many in Davies’s shoes would be still busy shouting what they had achieved done from the rooftops. Especially given the personal nature of the fixture.

But that is plainly not his style, with Davies – a more self-effacing character you could not wish to meet – not even bothering to keep the matchball or man-of-the-match champagne. He instead passed it onto his nan.

Davies even reckons it wasn’t even the best game of his career, despite never before scoring a hat-trick, let alone four goals.

He added: “My nan has been telling me to bring a match-ball home, probably for about the last two years since I was scoring at Chesterfield.

“I never managed to get a hat-trick there; I scored three or four doubles and last season, I got two (doubles).

“So it was quite nice to take it home because she watched the game on the telly and was pleased when I turned up on Sunday.

“It will live long in the memory what I did, but I just wanted to give the ball to someone who means quite a lot to me.

“But I wouldn’t say it was the best performance of my career. I have had games where I’ve not scored where I have probably played better. This one will get highlighted because of how many I have scored.

“It was a very good team performance.

“We really took the game to them and they didn’t like it and the scoreline reflected that they didn’t.

“I watched it again on Sunday as it’s good to analyse what you do right and wrong. There’s still things to improve on such as my ball retention.

“Yes goals are good, but there’s other things as well. If it wasn’t for the team, I wouldn’t have got the goals.

“Everybody will have been talking about me because of the goals, but if you at what the likes of Chris Dagnall and Steve Dawson did the other day for the team, it was unbelievable.

“We kind of took our frustration out on Birmingham. Everyone was gutted in the dressing room after the Blackburn game. Anyone who watched the game – and even their manager – knew we were unlucky. We felt robbed; we should have got something from that game 100 per cent.”

Hill recently recommended to the Oakwell board of his desire for discussions to start with several senior first-team players regarding fresh terms and it’s fair to say Davies would have been close to the top of the list of names he mentioned with his star striking asset out of contract next summer.

Davies himself remains laid back regarding his Reds future and is sure things will take care of themselves in due course.

He is steadfastly concentrating on the here and now – namely two back-to-back home games with Ipswich and fellow strugglers Peterborough United – and hopefully banging in more goals, having hit eight already this term.

Last campaign, he managed 11 in total and like any striker worth his salt, the seasonal target is around the 20-mark, something he is quietly confident of achieving. “The Birmingham match will give me more and more confidence going into each game and if the team continue playing like that, I am confident I will score.

“Only time will tell (if I get 20). I believe I am capable of what I put my mind to.

And on his future, he added: “I’m cool. I am just letting my football do the talking. I think everything else will take care of itself. When you concentrate on your game, everything else falls into place.”

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