Barnsley v Sheffield Wednesday: Yiadom is willing as always to shoulder responsibility

Barnsley's captain Andy Yiadom eases his way past Fulham's Oliver Norwood (Picture: Simon Hulme).
Barnsley's captain Andy Yiadom eases his way past Fulham's Oliver Norwood (Picture: Simon Hulme).
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IN TIMES of trouble, you need your warriors to pull you through.

Barnsley most definitely had one in their home derby with Sheffield Wednesday last April in the shape of Andy Yiadom, with his defiance being an enduring image from last season’s meeting.

The new Reds captain went off and back onto the pitch several times to strap up his injured shoulder, which had been dislocated following a first-half fall, before eventually succumbing and leaving the fray four minutes into the second half.

It was a bold, hardy effort all the same and how the Reds need to show similar fortitude, in terms of their mentality, this afternoon. They must draw upon their reservoirs of character to try to summon up just a second victory in 17 matches in a week that has seen head coach Paul Heckingbottom leave the club for Yorkshire rivals Leeds United.

Reflecting on that painful day last April, Yiadom, who did not play again in 2016-17, recalled: “I remember every bit of it. There was a corner kick and someone yanked my arm and dislocated it and I had to go off and get it put back in and come on the pitch and get it put it back in again.

“In the second half, they (Owls players) obviously knew I had a dislocated shoulder and pulled it out again and I had to call it a day. It was a sad one, but we got a result after being 1-0 down in the last minute.

“It was a derby and with the adrenalin and fans being loud, it was just one of those where you just kind of get through it in a way.”

Adversity this week has arrived with the surprise departure of Heckingbottom, someone who has handed a Championship platform to a host of players, including Yiadom.

The former Barnet captain will always be grateful for the pathway provided to him by Heckingbottom, but in the transient world of football he acknowledges that nothing lasts forever with his only concern being to help Barnsley achieve their season’s aim of survival.

This maxim also applies to his own position and while, having turned down a new deal, he is widely expected to move on in the summer when his contract expires his professionalism dictates that his sole focus between now and May is with the Reds.

Yiadom said: “It is a shame that he (Heckingbottom) has left and he has done a lot for the club. But it was one of those things, he is gone and what is important now is picking up some results. That is all we are focused on.

“As a professional you shrug your shoulders and move on. At the end of the day the players need to perform and get results for the team. We all have to crack on.”

On his own situation, the Londoner, subject of Premier League interest in the last two windows from the likes of Swansea City and Huddersfield Town, added: “At the moment I am just focused on working hard and getting three points with where we are in the league.

“My mind being elsewhere is not going to help the situation.”

Ahead of today’s game, chief executive Gauthier Ganaye highlighted Yiadom’s importance in leading the club through times of strife on the pitch and the responsibility sits well with him.

After donning the captain’s armband impressively at Barnet, he is now assuming that honour at Barnsley and few who know the 26-year-old expect him to be found wanting.

On the importance of fronting up in a seminal month in the club’s season, which also fits in relegation six-pointers against Burton, Birmingham and Hull, Yiadom observed: “We have said that this month and next month can decide our season in a way.

“We have had a little chat and everyone knows. I know there are a few young people in the squad – and I think I am myself – but we have said what has happened, has happened. Everyone knows we need to get some results and I am confident we will.

“Even with everything that has happened with Hecky leaving, if we go out there and get three points against Sheffield Wednesday everything turns around and everyone has got a spring in their step again.”