Barnsley v Bournemouth: Combative Dawson hailed as man to lead Reds

Barnsley's Stephen Dawson
Barnsley's Stephen Dawson
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DANNY WILSON has saluted the character of midfield man Stephen Dawson after his seasonal low point at Huddersfield.

The Irishman was forced to apologise publicly to Barnsley fans after angrily confronting a supporter shortly after the final whistle of the 5-0 loss at the John Smith’s Stadium on March 1.

Dawson has reacted impressively to the personal setback, with Oakwell chief Wilson showing no hesitation in handing him the captain’s armband in the absence of Martin Cranie at Watford last weekend.

Dawson is likely to lead the bottom-of-the-table Reds again in today’s home game with Bournemouth, the start of a huge week which ends with a trip to relegation rivals Yeovil, who Dawson’s brother Kevin plays for.

The 28-year-old’s combativeness on the pitch and leadership qualities are likely to be called upon heavily in the triple-header, with Cranie and another experienced man in Jim O’Brien on the sidelines and another senior player in Peter Ramage struggling.

Wilson said: “Is Stephen the most technically gifted player? Possibly not. But what he gives you is an all-round honesty and reliability.

“You can count on him when he goes out there because he will battle for everything in front of him. That is why he was made captain on the day.

“Like when I played, Stephen gives the ball to people who can play.

“I didn’t mind that, I understood the strengths of my game and I think Stephen knows that (as well).

“But he is a leader by example in terms of his commitment to the cause.”

Admitting his side are still feeling sore after last weekend’s setback at Watford and are determined to put things right, just as they did after the 5-0 derby hammering against the Terriers, he added: “I know there’s a lot of hurt in there. If they are hurting, then there’s lots of character in there.

“If you (players) can turn away from the ground and not think about the result that has just happened, then they are not for me.”