Luke Thomas makes Barnsley FC admission and savours reunion day

LUKE THOMAS has been through a lot in his rollercoaster time at Barnsley and has thankfully come out on the other side.

Injuries and difficulties to establish himself in the first team has been part of it, alongside battling some mental health issues as well.

Some good team-mates and people kept him going in tough times at a place he now increasingly views as home and he'd dearly like to stick around beyond the end of his current contract, which expires in June.

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Thomas started this season impressively, only for fate to cruelly intervene. He broke his leg and damaged ankle ligaments in a freak training-ground incident in October, which kept him out until February.

Barnsley winger Luke Thomas pictured in EFL Cup action against Leeds United in August. Picture: PABarnsley winger Luke Thomas pictured in EFL Cup action against Leeds United in August. Picture: PA
Barnsley winger Luke Thomas pictured in EFL Cup action against Leeds United in August. Picture: PA

The Gloucestershire-born player is busy making up for lost time and after what he's been through, the 24-year-old would ideally choose to play out some of the peak years in his career at Oakwell.

Given what he's experienced, it speaks volumes about his current sense of well-being.

Thomas said: "I'd really like to stay and I am enjoying working with the manager. I have been here quite a while now and it is probably the most settled I’ve ever been.

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"There's been a few discussions. But there's more important things to focus on now. It's been positive all season with the manager and it's been a really good season and one to be proud of.

"To reach the play-offs with four games to go is some achievement and we will put all our work in now to do the last bit of the job."

Barnsley still have a slim chance of finishing in the top two. It may be unlikely, but strange things can happen.

On the final day of 21-22, Thomas was part of a Bristol Rovers side who went up against the odds after a 7-0 win - when they usurped promotion rivals Northampton after a five-goal swing.

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Like Rovers then, Barnsley find themselves as outsiders now in their bid to break into League One's automatic promotion positions.

To keep the pressure on, Barnsley must win successive home games against Oxford and Ipswich, with the latter being one of the sides that the Reds are trying to overhaul.

In 2020-21, Thomas spent a loan spell in Suffolk and while the stint was cut short when he took time out of football, he has not a bad word to say about the club.

In their current ranks is someone he knows well in 25-goal Conor Chaplin, who will be trying his best to stop his old club's charge in his first Oakwell return on Tuesday.

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Thomas added: "They are a really good club. I probably went there at one of the worst times that they have had. But you can tell with everyone around that there's great staff there and a lot of the staff are still there.

"It was only a matter of time before they were back on the up and this season they have been flying.

"I’ve known Conor for quite a few years, before he came to Barnsley. I know how good a player he is and when he gets a sight of goal, he hardly misses and it's no surprise with how many goals he’s got this season.

"He's a very nice lad and most of the lads who are still here will keep in contact with him as he's a down-to-earth boy.

"It will be good to catch up with him."