Barnsley FC's Liam Kitching makes a promise after his toughest moment of 2021

BARNSLEY defender Liam Kitching insists that he learned a valuable lesson after letting his team-mates and himself down earlier this season following his dismissal against Birmingham City - and says it will not happen again.

Barnsley defender Liam Kitching (third from left) pictured in action in the home game with Hull City in November. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Barnsley defender Liam Kitching (third from left) pictured in action in the home game with Hull City in November. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

The committed performances of the former Leeds United player, who joined the club almost a year ago from League Two side Forest Green, have been one of the few redeeming features in a fraught and forgettable season thus far for the Reds alongside the very consistent form of Brad Collins and solidity at the back from fellow stopper Michal Helik.

While the season on a personal level - his first as a Championship regular - has seen him make incremental progress, it was not without one significant individual downside.

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That arrived at the end of August, when he received a retrospective three-match ban from the Football Association after being involved in an altercation with Birmingham City substitute Chuks Aneke late on in a 1-1 draw at Oakwell - with the defender head-butting his rival in an unsavoury incident.

The FA - upon inspection of video evidence - deemed the incident worthy of a violent conduct charge and a three-match ban.

Kitching said: "It was tough. I just felt as if I let everyone down.

"We obviously weren't doing that well and for me to do that was the icing on the cake (in a bad way). But I learned from it and it won't happen again.

"I spoke to a few of the lads and the staff and I learned from it and feel like I am growing as a player with the experience.

Kitching and his team-mates are preparing for Wednesday night's tough Roses trip to Blackburn Rovers - having been inactive on Boxing Day after their game against scheduled opponents Stoke City - who were due to visit Oakwell - was called off due to Covid issues in the Potters camp.

It prevented head coach Poya Asbaghi from sampling festive football in front of a holiday crowd on one of the big traditional games in the sporting calendar and it was something that he was looking forward to.

Asbaghi added: "Even though I have not lived (before) in this country, growing up in Sweden, you are influenced a lot about England, not only about football.

"When I grew up, I watched the Christmas football and I like to be here and it was part of my childhood as well.

"I was sad that we could not play on Boxing Day in front of our fans and that would have been really special. But I understood the situation."