Barnsley FC: Carlton Morris happy to lead Reds from front

DURING BARNSLEY’S outstanding ‘Great Escape’ survival act in 2019-20, Michael Sollbauer earned himself a place in Reds folklore for his calmness, leadership and drive.

In a similar way – albeit in a different area of the pitch – Carlton Morris will achieve the same should the Oakwell outfit’s latest mission bear glorious fruit.

Experienced defender Sollbauer’s arrival in the January transfer window of 2020 coincided with a gradual upturn in team form after he joined from Wolfsberger AC.

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In contrast, Morris has been present at Barnsley all season – having joined in the winter window of 2021.

Barnsley's Carlton Morris. Picture: Tony Johnson

But his return to the side from injury in time for the second half of the campaign has proved a catalyst for the Reds giving themselves a fighting chance, allied to the additions of Amine Bassi and Domingos Quina.

Speak to most seasoned Reds observers and the name of the player who has been key to their improvement is likely to be Morris, top-scorer with eight goals this season, despite being sidelined following knee surgery for three months.

Alongside his presence out on the pitch, Morris – along with a handful of others – is also a big voice in the dressing room.

Barnsley will lean on him and their senior players heavily in the crunch weeks ahead.

The former Norwich City frontman, 26, said: “With my personality, that (leadership) comes with the territory and my age as well as one of the older and senior players.

“The lads take on information well, whether it be constructive information or my enthusiasm. It is a good group to be part of and a leader in, even when we are in the situation we are in.

“I have always been that sort of person and it comes from when you are young.

You can also learn. I know a few lads in the dressing room who were maybe a bit quieter last season and now they are taking on responsibility. It is good to see and we need more of that. We have got to leave it all out there in the right way and run hard and run smart.”

Barnsley resume after the international break with a huge relegation six-pointer at home to Reading on April 2 with fellow strugglers Peterborough being the next visitors to Oakwell on April 18.