SENTIMENT will be put firmly to one side by Barnsley goalkeeper Nick Townsend this afternoon.
The boyhood Blues fan, a former season ticket holder at St Andrew’s, faces the club at which he started his career in Birmingham City, with the fixture given added nostalgia by the sight of ex-Reds captain Marc Roberts in the home ranks.
Solihull-born Townsend definitely will not be short in the support stakes today among his family, even if a number have Blues affiliations.
But with both sides in desperate strife towards the wrong end of the Championship and reeling after tough midweek losses to Burton and Brentford respectively, Townsend is solely concentrating on Reds business.
Townsend, whose last four appearances have incredibly come under four different bosses in Jose Morais, Paul Harsley, Paul Heckingbottom and Lee Johnson, said: “I am playing for the badge and playing for Barnsley and we need three points. At the end of the day, we are going out for three points to win the game.”
On the notion of banter from family and friends this week, he added: “They have given me a bit, but it is a job and we need a win more than anything.
“My family and friends are all Blues fans, but what I have got to do is keep the ball out of the back of the net now.
“I think I will get a few digs for it (a Barnsley win), but it would be a good feeling from it.”
Barnsley are seeking their second double of the season this afternoon against a Blues side who they beat 2-0 in the reverse fixture on November 4, the Reds’ last victory at Oakwell.
Since that autumnal afternoon Barnsley have won just once in their 18 matches in all competitions and suffered a punishing midweek loss to Burton, which saw them drop to second-from-bottom.
It has raised the stakes even further ahead of today’s trip to 20th-placed Blues – who they would leapfrog with victory today – and Tuesday’s game at Hull City.
Insisting confidence levels are still good, Townsend added: “We need to knuckle down now. Birmingham is a massive game and we need to win it.
“We should have got more out of some of the games than we should of. But the confidence is still there, we are not down in the dumps. There is still a buzz around the place and we know we can get out of it.”