Barnsley boss Danny Wilson has backed youth to blossom at Oakwell with a trio of youngsters having earned first team opportunities this season.
Highly-rated midfielders James Bree, Brad Abbott and more recently Mason Holgate, have all been given chances to shine. Holgate, 18, is the latest of the Academy graduates to have made the step up to the first team.
Holgate impressed in the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Doncaster Rovers last week. And both Bree, 17, and Abbott, 19, have also proven they can mix it in League One.
Bree has made 12 appearances this season, while Abbott has featured seven times.And it’s likely the trio will all feature more this season as Wilson continues to blood youth. “We said at the start of the season we’d give young players a chance,” said Wilson. “Throughout the club we’ve given lads the opportunity to force themselves in to the first team. We’ve been true to our word and we’ll have to continue doing that because that’s the process we need to go through.
“We threw Holgate into the deep which, to a certain degree, is what we did with Bree. And both of them have come up with the answers. Straight away they give you food for thought about handling the pressure and the jump in level.
“It’s another big boost for the club and the start, hopefully, of a bright future for them. We’ll have to be careful how far we can push them because we don’t want them to suffer from burnout, but we know that we can trust them all when we put them in the team.”
The Reds take on Walsall on Saturday with Wilson still missing players through injury.
Centre-back Jean-Yves M’voto is sidelined with a leg injury, while striker Sam Winnall is out for about four weeks with a hamstring injury. Manchester City loan striker Devante Cole missed Sunday’s frustrating FA Cup second round 0-0 draw with Conference side Chester due to flu. But it is thought Cole, son of former Manchester United marksman Andy, will be in the reckoning for this weekend’s clash with the Saddlers.
However, midfielder James Bailey remains a doubt with a foot injury.