Josh Scowen says Barnsley thriving in the role of underdogs
COMFORTABLE is probably not the first word that you would have expected to hear from a Barnsley player regarding the club's step-up to the Championship.
Especially just a fortnight in.
But that is the unequivocal view of midfielder Josh Scowen, late goal hero for the Reds in Wednesday’s thrilling 3-2 home win over QPR – who is confident that he and his team-mates can continue to more than hold their own following promotion.
His sentiments are nothing to do with chutzpah either, more tangible evidence of what he has experienced in a division with collective deeds having backed up his words thus far.
Three games in and Barnsley are sitting in seventh spot with a healthy haul of six points ahead of tomorrow’s mouth-watering derby at another flier in Huddersfield Town.
Confidence is justifiably coursing through the veins of both sides and while Barnsley may have a quicker turn-around than their White Rose rivals, it is a case of bring it on for Scowen.
The pint-sized midfielder, preferred to summer signing George Moncur in the heart of the engine-room alongside Conor Hourihane so far, has adapted to Championship surroundings in seamless fashion along with his team-mates.
And the former Wycombe player sees no reason why that evolution cannot continue to run smoothly, with his partnership with Hourihane auguring well for the challenges ahead.
On the step up, Scowen said: “Easy is the wrong word. But I have found it comfortable and don’t feel challenged too much. We are getting a lot of ball and creating a lot of chances.
“It is more of a ball-playing league and a lot of teams sit off you and we have to try and break teams down and we have done. But I do think that you get more time on the ball.
“Me and Conor feel comfortable and I think that we will only get better through the season. I think we are both comfortable at this level and hopefully we can keep bouncing off each other and putting in good performances.
“We have looked good in all of the games. At Ipswich, it was just sloppy mistakes at the back which cost us. But in the last two games, we have been excellent and have looked a threat going forward, scoring five goals and that can only put us in good stead.”
“Conor is a great player. When I first signed here, he was more of an attacking midfielder and now he is sitting in front of the back four. He has shown he can adapt his game and he is a fantastic player to play alongside.”
Attention now switches to Huddersfield and regardless of the fact that Town have had the benefit of an extra 24 hours preparation, Scowen is reading little into that.
Following a start to the league season in which Barnsley have been landed several punches on their rivals’ noses, it is easy to see why trepidation is not in Scowen or the Reds’ make-up – with the underdog tag suiting them well.
On the Town test, he said: “We are both doing well and in good form. It will be a tough game.
“But I think if we keep creating chances as we have been and cut out the mistakes at the back, we are more than capable of coming away with three points.
“We do not have any fear. We have come into the league and teams will look at us and think: ‘oh, we should be beating them’.
“So we are the underdogs in every game really and we thrive on that to show teams we can fight at this level. We will carry on fighting for the rest of the season.”