Steel of midwinter proving unkind to McCourt

Barnsley manager Danny Wilson
Barnsley manager Danny Wilson
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DANNY WILSON insists mercurial winger Paddy McCourt still has a part to play in Barnsley’s Championship survival quest – despite not featuring so far in 2014.

The fans’ favourite has made just two appearances in the reign of Reds manager Wilson, with his only start arriving in the home game with Derby County on December 29.

That was his last action for the Reds, with the former Celtic man an unused substitute in the club’s last five outings.

With attritional games often par for the course at this time of year and flowing football at a premium, Wilson has pragmatically favoured steel over silk and has spoken with McCourt about the reasons behind him not featuring.

With some huge six-pointers this month against survival rivals Doncaster Rovers, Millwall and Charlton Athletic – where points represent the be-all and end-all – the likeilhood is that McCourt may have to bide his time until the hard grind of winter subsidies.

But equally, Wilson feels McCourt will prove a weapon to be utilised between now and early May, in the right circumstances with it very much a case of choosing the right opportunity.

Wilson said: “Paddy is very much part of the squad. I have sat down with him on numerous occasions. He has got undoubted ability and is possibly the most technically gifted player we have.

“But as I have said to Paddy, there’s got to be another side of his game as well.

“At this moment in time, we don’t have the luxury to outpass teams. We are not top of the league and flying with confidence and at times, we are having to grind games out.

“Last Saturday, for example, was a very tough physical game and Paddy, by his own admission, is not that type of player.

“But there will come a time when Paddy will be the one who can unlock a door for us and we have to seek the right moment to put him in. Sadly, it’s not arisen in the last few games, which is disappointing sometimes.

“But that’s the way it goes. And from Paddy’s perspective and from having spoken to him, he understands the situation totally.”

Meanwhile, Wilson says he will not curb the enthusiasm of loan recruit Emmanuel Frimpong, despite the former Arsenal player being dismissed for two bookable offences in his debut in the last-gasp derby loss at Hillsborough.

The Ghanian midfielder sits out tomorrow’s home encounter with Ipswich Town and while Wilson will have words with him about his future conduct on the pitch, the last thing he will be doing is taking the competitive edge away from his game.

Wilson said: “The fact he wants to win every ball is not a bad thing, but we just have to make sure it’s controlled.

“We will have a talk to him and say: ‘In certain situations, you can’t do this, that and the other,’ But we won’t take away the enthusiasm he’s got.”