LUKE THOMAS has certainly not been short of ticket requests from friends and family in recent times.
After starting the new year with an appointment at former club Derby County, the Barnsley winger heads back to another place he also knows well in Ashton Gate for today’s game with Bristol City, managed by former Oakwell chief Lee Johnson.
Raised in the nearby Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire-born Thomas can recall footballing visits to the red side of Bristol when he was a boy, but his only concern is the red of Barnsley today as the club seeks to take another important step in their Championship rehabilitation.
Thomas, who has caught the eye amid some fluid Barnsley attacking performances of late, said: “When I was a young boy, one of my best mates supported Bristol City, so I used to watch them quite a bit.
“The atmosphere was brilliant and, as a young lad, I loved going and I always kept an eye on their results.
“It will be nice to go back home and a lot of friends and family will be able to watch me on Saturday afternoon.
The atmosphere was brilliant and, as a young lad, I loved going and I always kept an eye on their results. It will be nice to go back home and a lot of friends and family will be able to watch me on SaturdayLuke Thomas
“There are not many games close to where I am from and it is on the doorstep for me.”
Having now acclimatised to his new surroundings in South Yorkshire following his summer move, Thomas is showing signs of making a concerted impact at Barnsley following the highs of his goal-scoring debut in the 1-0 win over Fulham on the opening day of the season.
Recent evidence suggests that he retained the trust of head coach Gerhard Struber and he is one of a number of players to flower under the Austrian.
Thomas added: “Since the gaffer has come in, we have got this new system and we look dangerous every time we go forward.
“We are full of confidence and know we can score.
“At the start of the season and after about 15 games, we were not up to it in terms of the standards we should have been.
“But now we have certainly found our confidence. We are making teams scared of us, especially coming to our place at Oakwell. They now know they are in for a tough game.”
On the road, Barnsley have also improved of late and Thomas has pinpointed the pre-Christmas win at Millwall as a catalyst to a injection of belief.
“It was massive to get our first away win at Millwall, which is never an easy place to get three points from. We got a lot of confidence from that game,” he said.