Barnsley: Reds new boy Watkins out to prove himself as a hit at Oakwell

Marley Watkins
Marley Watkins

Reds new boy Marley Watkins has declared he wants to be a success after signing a two-year deal at Oakwell.

The Reds fought off a number of clubs to capture the versatile attacker on a free transfer following his departure from Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

The 24-year-old won the Scottish Cup with Inverness last season, and can play as a striker or on either wing, bolstering manager Lee Johnson’s attacking options for the upcoming campaign.

“I’m delighted,” said Watkins. “I had a good, positive meeting with Lee Johnson and I was really impressed with what he had to say and where he wants to go.

“I’m excited to be a part of it. I just want to come to England and prove myself down here then aim as high as possible. I want to be a success with Barnsley.”

Watkins notched nine goals and 16 assists for Inverness last season as they finished third in the Scottish Premiership, and scored the opener in their 2-1 victory over Falkirk in the Scottish Cup final.

He began his career as a schoolboy at Swansea City and went on to play for Cheltenham Town, Bath City and Hereford United before joining Inverness in 2013, and was placed on standby for the Wales squad in November.

Following the departures of Leroy Lita, Kane Hemmings, Rhys Oates and George Waring, Watkins’ arrival adds some much-needed firepower to Johnson’s ranks.

Meanwhile, centre-back Lewin Nyatanga has signed a new two-year deal to keep him at Oakwell until 2017.

The 26-year-old was ever-present last season, making 51 appearances at the heart of the Reds’ defence, and with the summer exit of club captain Martin Cranie, Nyatanga was the only senior centre-half at the club.

The Welsh international was handed the captain’s armband on the last day of the season, and is a key component in Johnson’s plans.

Nyatanga’s new contract comes as the Reds continue to build their squad for next season’s promotion push, having already signed Barnsley-born defender Marc Roberts on a free transfer from FC Halifax Town in May.

Last season’s players’ player of the year is already eagerly anticipating the 2015/16 campaign: “I’m really pleased to get everything sorted. I’m looking forward to next season and what’s to come,” he said.

“I think it’s going to be a big season for the club, and an exciting one as well.

“It was an easy decision. I enjoyed my time here last year, we’ve got a great setup and very good back room staff and that’s been a big part of my decision. We’ve got a great manager with fresh ideas looking to push the club forward.

“The word on everyone’s lips is probably promotion and sometimes you have to put that pressure on yourself and say ‘that’s what we want to aim for’. We have to start the season with that focus in mind.”