Barnsley v Barrow: ‘We are still a team that is together and wanting to win’ insists Jordan Williams

BELEAGUERED Barnsley head into today’s tie with Barrow low on numbers and with the equivalent of a big target on their backs.

One player who has known it worse heading into an FA Cup tie against a lower-division opponent where the higher-league side has everything to lose and little to gain is Jordan Williams.

Early in his career, the defender, then at Huddersfield Town, was sent out on loan to Bury during the 2017-18 season.

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The Shakers found themselves bottom of League One – and were starting to experience some major off-the-field travails as well – and Williams recalls facing a Woking side in a first-round replay at Gigg Lane in late 2017.

Barnsley's Jordan Williams. Picture: PABarnsley's Jordan Williams. Picture: PA
Barnsley's Jordan Williams. Picture: PA

Williams, who played in the first game, was on the bench as Bury were embarrassed 3-0 at home on a dismal night.

It provides a bit of personal perspective for the 22-year-old, following his experiences across the Pennines which are likely to be tougher than what he is currently enduring, hard though it is.

Williams said: “It was when I was 17 and it was a tough time at Bury and the club were going through a tough period.

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“It is a different scenario to what we are in at the minute. It is (similar) results-wise, but Bury were in a different situation financially.

“We are still a team that is together and wanting to win and still believing we can do.”

Despite Barnsley’s grim time of it on the pitch, spirits still remain intact, although everyone will be mindful of the importance of a strong mentality this afternoon against a side who will be justifiably scenting a Cup upset and following up their excellent exploits in the previous round against Ipswich Town.

Barrow make their first visit to Oakwell since December 1969 in good heart, with the Bluebirds playing squad including former Barnsley player Josh Kay, who started his career at the club.

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They are also managed by a Yorkshireman in Wakefield-born Mark Cooper, whose late father Terry used to play alongside former Reds managers Allan Clarke and Norman Hunter in the great Leeds United side of the early 1970s.

Covid and injury issues mean that Barnsley will be picking from reduced numbers as Poya Asbaghi plots the first win of his tenure in his seventh game.

Williams admits that everyone is desperate to achieve that for the 36-year-old, who has made a positive impression on the training ground, even if results have not made a significant turn for the better since his arrival.

Williams added: “The manager has come in and been very good with everyone, to be fair. It is just not happening at the minute; we have played well in some games, but not had the rub of the green.

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“This is a massive game for us to get that win under our belts and that confidence and belief back. It is a big game for everyone – the players, fans and manager.

“Barrow will be coming here with nothing to lose. They are a good club who are coming here with a few players that I know and it will not be an easy game and we will all have to step up to get the win.”

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