Barnsley FC v Tranmere Rovers: Neill Collins's vote of confidence towards 'terrific' striker Oli Shaw plus an 'attitude' warning ahead of EFL Cup test against League Two Rovers

IT was legendary golfer Gary Player who famously said 'the harder you work, the luckier you get.'

Barnsley striker Oli Shaw is waiting for that particular maxim to apply. Should he score his maiden goal in Reds colours against Tranmere this evening, then expect his team-mates to be particularly delighted and not just the Scot.

It would be a weight lifted from his shoulders. The former Kilmarnock player is yet to find the net in five substitute appearances for his club since joining in January.

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His cameo from the bench was one of a number of positive aspects that went under the radar in Saturday's 7-0 blitzing of Port Vale.

Barnsley striker Oli Shaw. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.Barnsley striker Oli Shaw. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.
Barnsley striker Oli Shaw. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.

The thing that he craved, his first Barnsley goal, continued to elude him. That said, his contribution was not lost upon his manager.

On Shaw, set to be handed his first competitive start tonight, Collins said: "Oli has played really well in my time here. In pre-season, I thought he was excellent in a couple of games and didn't get the goal that maybe his work deserved.

"On Saturday, as far as substitute appearances go, it was fantastic. As a striker who wants that goal, if he keeps doing the things that he is doing right now, the goals will come.

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"He will be an important part for us if he continues to perform like that. He will be another one who will be given a great and well-deserved opportunity.

"Everyone is behind him. We know he is a quality player and I am a great believer that if you are a striker and you keep doing the good things you are doing, then the goals will come."

After Saturday's highs, a changed Barnsley side will take the field this evening.

It is a round of the competition where the sight of higher division teams getting turned over, often at home, by teams below them is commonplace.

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For his part, Collins feels he will find out a bit about his players against Tranmere.

Mael de Gevigney could be handed his debut if he receives international clearance. Harrison Nejman and Nathan James will definitely feature.

Luca Connell (illness) and Corey O'Keeffe (thigh) won't, with the club endeavouring to 'get to the bottom' of Connell's ailment. Adam Phillips serves the second game of a three-match ban.

On tonight's tie, Collins continued: "It is a lot to do with attitude and I have seen it where the attitude has maybe not been great (at some of his former clubs in first-round ties).

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"I think what people sometimes forget is that a lower-league team might play their strongest team and the other team might mix.

"I think as soon as you get a mix, you can get disjointed performances.

"So (while) I think it can be down to attitude at times, there's other times where it's the disjointed nature of maybe the team that is picked.

"I have been part of many teams like that where you look around and think: 'we've got good players, but it's just the fact that do get guys who are not as fit as they have not played as many minutes or built relationships.' So it's a bit of both."