LEAGUE TWO Golden Boot holder Sam Winnall’s shooting boots may not be glistening quite as much as they were in 2013-14, but panic is not in his vocabulary.
The Barnsley striker arrived in the summer with a predatory reputation following his exploits in the Football League bottom division, his 23 goals helping fire Scunthorpe United to promotion – and convincing the Reds to shelve out £250,000 with add-ons as they won the race to sign him.
The flood of league goals plundered at Iron have so far dried up at his new footballing home, with just one arriving in 10 games so far for Danny Wilson’s side, with the Black Countryman finding himself on the bench for the Reds’ last three matches in League One.
While acknowledging it has not been an ideal start, Winnall is confident he will come good, just as he did in some respects at Glanford Park last season after managing a modest three goals in his first 13 games there.
Winnall said: “The season is 10 months long and sometimes people assume if it is not going in the back of the net every week, that there is a problem. That was my focus last season as it is this year; not to panic and just believe the goals will come.
“I have been here two months, so I am still getting used to how Danny (Wilson) wants me to play and how we want the team to play and my role within the team.
“It will come, people just need to have a little bit of patience. I am sure once we finally find a rhythm, myself individually and as a team, we can both succeed.
“My overall ratio is one in two and I am not too concerned. There has been six weeks in the season and there is a hell of a long way to go.
“Obviously, I would have liked a few more goals under my belt. But I am finding my feet in this division and enjoying it.
“There is pressure, a little bit, yes. But is not too bad. As a striker, you get used to it as pressure comes automatically because you are always expected to be putting the ball in the back of the net every week.
“It comes with the territory of being a centre forward and I have been a centre forward all my (footballing) life.
“I am accustomed to having that pressure on my shoulders and it is part of the game.”
Barnsley remain a work in progress, which was perhaps to be expected after a mass summer overhaul which saw more than 20 players leave the club, with the number of additions comfortably in the double-figure bracket.
Given that context, Winnall is confident that the Reds – in 19th place after eight league matches and without a win in four games – will evolve and get better as the season progresses, mirroring his own self-belief that he himself will step up to League One surroundings.
That happened spectacularly on the last occasion the Reds resided in League One in 2005-06 when the club found themselves in 14th place at the end of September 2005, only to claim promotion via the play-offs at the Millennium Stadium come late spring.
Most successful sides invariably germinate in time and not overnight, with Winnall citing a famous monied example as further conclusive proof of that.
He said: “It does not really matter where we are now; what matters is where we are in May. That is what individually and as a team we will focus on.
“It happens at the highest level. When Man City became the richest club in the land, it took them a while to gel, they did not win the league straightaway.
“Sometimes, it is easier to think that bringing in so many new faces means things are going to click straightaway. People need to gel together and it is a team game and you need to become a team.
“We are getting there slowly.
“We know where we are in the table is not where we want to be; and we don’t expect to be where we are. We have got high expectations from ourselves individually and as a team.
“But we have had a lot of new faces come through the door and it will take time to gel. But now we have got to kick on and try and really get our season into shape.”
Reds chief Wilson is the first to admit his side’s start to the season has been decidedly average with some poor concessions and a lack of a clinical edge providing ample proof that there remains plenty of work to do.
Wilson believes a ‘happy medium’ needs to be struck between defence and attack, with a tough itinerary in October which includes a derby with Bradford City, trips to Keith Hill’s Rochdale and Peterborough and a home clash with leaders Bristol City to ask further probing questions.
On the season so far, Wilson said: “It’s been average. But I have said all along that things are not going to be decided in September.
“We have got to maintain that with the players we have got we will get better all along. I genuinely believe we will do.
“Performances in some of the players needs to be more consistent and when we get that, we will see a definite change and more consistent results.”