O’Brien will look to do more than just bench duty

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Jim O’Brien had worked under four managers in his three-year stay at Barnsley so this week’s 
arrival of new boss Danny Wilson is nothing new.

The 26-year-old former Celtic and Motherwell winger, signed by Mark Robins in 2010, has also seen Keith Hill, David Flitcroft and Micky Mellon in charge prior to Wilson’s return to Oakwell on Wednesday.

O’Brien now hopes he can earn a regular starting role under Wilson after impressing as a substitute in recent matches.

“I don’t want to be an impact sub, I want to be playing,” he said.

“Stop-start, in and out of the team, different positions. I am just looking to get settled and play in my position (right wing); when I have done I think I have done alright.

“If I was playing right-back and we were winning, I would sit and say ‘I am happy to be playing’. The most important thing is the team is winning.

“This will be my fifth manager. It happens, but it’s not really nice to see.

“You feel responsible for someone losing their job. Players come and leave, it’s a cut-throat business, but when a manager leaves it’s the squad of players who are responsible for him getting the bullet.

“Good managers will always get another job, like Flicker (David Flitcroft, now at Bury), Keith (Hill, back to Rochdale) and Mark Robins, who is doing well at Huddersfield. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out at one club.”

Barnsley head to Elland Road today having picked up just three wins all season, but the club hope Wilson’s arrival will act as a catalyst for change.

“It’s been pretty positive, the lads all know of his history here and how well he has done here before,” said O’Brien. “He has picked up a lot of experience from the last time he was here, he is only going to be a better manager.

“He’s not come in, to quote Danny, to ‘reinvent the wheel’, it’s nothing we don’t know. It’s fine margins; get goals conceded down and goals scored up.

“We know we have the players here who are good enough. We have got a long way to go, the club have made a change quite quickly – quicker than we thought it was going to happen – so the club has not been shy. It’s good we can now concentrate on the job in hand and obviously a big game at the weekend.”

O’Brien scored his first goal for the Reds in a 5-2 thumping of Leeds in 2010, and Barnsley have suffered just one defeat to their Yorkshire rivals in their last eight Championship meetings.

“Since I have been here we seem to do okay against Leeds,” said the Scottish-born winger, who has represented Republic of Ireland at Under-21 level. “It’s a game we enjoy and that the fans are really up for. I don’t know if they have a couple of extra drinks before the game or something.

“It’s something special, everybody enjoys playing Leeds, nobody seems to like them.

“Last season and the season before at Oakwell we played really well (against Leeds). It’s strange to say because they seem to do okay in the league, and have good players.

“But then they come here and we turn them over quite convincingly, it’s nice. But Elland Road is a different story, it’s a tough place to go to, always is.”