Barnsley v Bristol City: Returning Red Kenny Dougall is expecting a hard season of toil at Oakwell

Kenny DougallKenny Dougall
Kenny Dougall
It was a feeling that Kenny Dougall hadn’t experienced for over seven months as he walked off the pitch at the John Smith’s Stadium last weekend.

The Australian-born midfielder had just lost a league game with Barnsley for the first time in 17 outings.

The Terriers’ 2-1 win prolonged the Reds wait for a second Championship victory and kept the Tykes at the bottom of the table.

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Dougall has recently recovered from a broken leg and made his first appearance since March as Barnsley secured a well-earned point against Swansea.

He featured in the 2-2 draw at West Brom before his unbeaten streak in a Barnsley shirt was brought to an end last weekend.

“Someone told me that Shrewsbury away last season was the last loss I played in,” he said.

“It is a nice stat but at the moment it doesn’t really help our situation. They are nice to read but it doesn’t really affect me.”

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Dougall played the full 90 minutes on his return from injury as well as playing the whole game at Huddersfield last weekend.

“Personally, it is great to be back,” said the 26-year-old after putting his injury woes behind him.

“Three games in a week has been tough on the body but I am obviously buzzing to be back.

“At West Brom I got tired towards the end. But the other games I have played 90 minutes and I am feeling good.

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“It is positive going forward. Going from nothing to three games in a week would be tough for anyone.

“But it is not something I have been thinking of, I do feel fit.

“The Swansea and West Brom games were tough. They were intense games.

“So it is not just myself but a lot of the boys found it physically quite hard.”

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Barnsley haven’t won a game since the opening day and Dougall insists that the issues facing the Tykes won’t be fixed overnight. Last week’s defeat at in-form Huddersfield came as a bit of a blow to Barnsley, who had shown signs of progress under caretaker manager Adam Murray.

But Dougall insists that the hard work won’t stop until the end of the season.

He said: “It is not going to be an overnight fix, we know it is going to be a grind all season.

“In the three games I have been back, the first two of those were very encouraging performances.

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“We didn’t quite get the three points out of them but two draws against good teams was a good step.

“Last Saturday was a little bit disappointing.

“But over the course of the remaining games it looks positive.

“And all the boys are confident that we can do enough to stay in this league.”

Barnsley host sixth-placed Bristol City tonight, a side who have lost only two of their first 14 league games this campaign.

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The Robins are winless in their last three away outings, however, and Dougall hopes to prolong City’s travel sickness.

“They are a high, energetic team and they are in the top six,” he said.

“They had that slip up against Luton a few weeks ago but they will be tough.

“But I am pretty sure they haven’t won away since September. So with them coming to our place, it is going to be a good game.”

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He added: “The Luton game, where we lost 3-1, wasn’t the best for us but we have shown, for all of last season and for large parts this season, that, at home, we are a good side.

“We will give anyone a game. In the last home game against Swansea it could’ve gone either way.”

Barnsley have conceded 27 goals this term, the most of any Championship team.

Dougall feels that the Reds’ defensive record can improve provided they cut out the “little mistakes”. He added: “We are in constant communication and breaking down the games to see where the mistakes are.

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“We are trying to address them, it is a lot of habits that we need to change.

“Those things can’t be changed tomorrow but it is something we do need to change as soon as possible.

“But we know it is a long process.

“You can’t really blame anyone for any of the goals. It has been a build up of three, four or five little mistakes that have been costing us.

“And at this level it is almost always a goal when you do make an error.”

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Dougall hopes to impress enough for Barnsley to earn a call-up for Australia in a couple of weeks.

The Socceroos have games against Jordan and Kuwait in the World Cup Qualifiers during the upcoming international break.

He said: “I think the squad is announced next week but there is nothing formal or informal at the moment.

“I have to keep playing well for Barnsley and we will see what happens.”