Cheltenham Town v Barnsley: Neill Collins praises unheralded trio of Reds signings

IN TERMS of Barnsley's summer signings, the names of Kacper Lopata and Jack Shepherd have been relatively unheralded, it is fair to suggest.

The defenders have both arrived from humble origins, with the former joining after National League stints at Woking and Southend United and the latter being a non-league product brought on from Pontefract Collieries – where he combined part-time playing commitments with working as a kitchen fitter.

There has been something wholesome about the progression of both at the start of the season and Collins is right to point to their contribution and development.

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He said: "We talk about (signing) new players, but we (should) talk about the guys we have already brought in such as Kacper, who has given everything and had a good start to his Barnsley career and is determined to show he can improve.

Barnsley manager Neill Collins. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.Barnsley manager Neill Collins. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Barnsley manager Neill Collins. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

"Jack Shepherd has also had an opportunity because of Conor (McCarthy) and Kitch (Liam Kitching), who were injured. He's shown he is capable.

"But again, you have got to temper expectations. Jack is going to need experience at this level, but it's good to know that he is capable. It's a good piece of business from the club that we have someone like Jack in the building to progress his career."

Another 'modest' signing in John McAtee got his Reds career up and running last weekend at Wigan with a goal on his debut.

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Collins was delighted with his contribution as he hopes for an encore – and another away success – on his 40th birthday weekend.

The Reds chief added: "I thought John played very well and looked lively. He's a nice addition to the squad and he could have had a couple of goals before he did.

"He's certainly brought some competition, which we need as we are going to need four or five good strikers."