Exeter City v Barnsley FC: Neill Collins on the number which impresses him more than Devante Cole's goals tally

AMID the mostly pleasing numbers which have cropped up when talk has turned to Barnsley's opening to 2023-24, one sticks out for Neill Collins.

The Reds possess League One's current top-scorer in Devante Cole (right), with nine goals. Yet there is another statistic just as impressive, maybe even more so.

Namely, the number of Barnsley players have found the net at league level so far, which stands at 10. Two wing-backs in Barry Cotter and Nicky Cadden have already notched two apiece, alongside midfielders Jon Russell and Callum Styles.

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It's a healthy scenario, especially given the fact that the likes of Adam Phillips and Sam Cosgrove are yet to get off the mark at league level.

Barnsley FC head coach Neill Collins. Picture: Bruce RollinsonBarnsley FC head coach Neill Collins. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Barnsley FC head coach Neill Collins. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Collins, whose side are seeking a fifth successive away win today, said: "You look at our wing-backs and Barry and Cadden have both scored and we've had goals from Styles and Russell.

"A big part in how we continue to progress is to make sure that we get threats from all over the pitch. I think these players have shown they can score.

"It's definitely good from my perspective and I'm sure there will be a lot of clubs who'd like to have some of those players.

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"I don't give targets so much. But let's say for wing-backs, they are told what their expectations might be. It's about getting goals, but I'd rather focus how they get goals and what they do when they get chances. Because if they do that, goals will come.

"It's like a striker missing chances. John McAtee has missed a couple of chances in the last games, but I am not concerned about that; I'm more pleased he is doing the things to get him chances because he'll ultimately get goals."

While Barnsley's central midfield options were marked out as some of the strongest in the division last season, their depth at wing-back can be viewed as an added boon this time around with four players competing for two places.

Collins added: "With the wing-backs and the strikers, they are the ones that are doing a lot of high-speed running, so they need to be changed and we have got the option to do that."

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