JUDGING by his two goals in a Barnsley shirt, Josh Brownhill clearly has an eye for the spectacular.
The 20-year-old, on loan from Preston North End, rounded off the Reds’ 4-1 play-off clinching win at Wigan Athletic last Sunday with a stunning 25-yard free-kick.
It was a wonderful strike and one that was, if anything, even more impressive than the long-distance effort that helped beat play-off opponents Walsall in March.
He is hoping for a repeat against the Saddlers when the two clubs meet again in Saturday’s semi-final first leg at Oakwell. If he does get on the scoresheet, however, Brownhill is hoping to mark the goal in a more fitting way than at the DW Stadium.
“I always planned to do a celebration or something but when it went into the net I couldn’t think and just ran over to the crowd,” said the midfielder.
“It was still a brilliant feeling, especially in front of all those fans. We do a lot of practising of free-kicks. That one was the perfect range for me and the lads said, ‘Take it’.
“I knew as soon as I hit it that the ball was going on target. I hit one in pre-season a couple of years back like that but in a competitive fixture that was the furthest I have scored from.”
Brownhill has featured in every Barnsley game since moving on loan from Deepdale in mid-January. All but one of those 24 games has come as part of the starting XI and the former Manchester United junior is hoping to sign off his loan spell with a second appearance at Wembley to go with last month’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final triumph over Oxford United.
“Not a lot of people get to play at Wembley once,” added the midfielder. “For us to have a chance twice is a great feeling.
“We knew it would be really hard to get a result at Wigan but we were on our game and deserved the win. I felt we fully deserved the four goals we scored.
“The lads were buzzing after the match. But we have a lot of work to do now on the training pitch for two big games against Walsall. If we play like we did at Wigan and in the second half at Walsall, I feel we can go and do a job.
“If we can replicate that over the two legs then I can’t see why we won’t go through to the final at Wembley.”