Reds midfielder Luke Thomas praised Barnsley’s ‘professional performance’ in their 3-1 victory over Sky Bet League Two’s Crewe Alexandra in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup on Sunday.
An emphatic volley from Jacob Brown and a header by Conor Chaplin was rounded off by Thomas himself in the fourth minute of added time as he secured the result to ensure the Reds booked their place in the fourth round of the tournament.
Speaking after the game at Gresty Road, Thomas said: “It’s great to get through to the next round. These cup ties are never easy because teams that are two leagues lower than you are always going to be up for it.
“We had a meeting to make sure every player in our squad was up for it and in the end, it was a very professional performance. We had to be wary of what they could offer. They were certainly a good footballing side. Both teams wanted to get the ball down and play.”
Thomas scored his first goal since the opening day win over Fulham and was pleased to be back on the scoresheet after such a long time.
He added: “As soon as the ball got to Kenny [Dougall] on the edge of the box, I knew he was going to clear it, so I got my head down and ran. We’ve just had a discussion in the dressing room, it definitely wasn’t going in, so I had to make sure!
“They all count. I needed that because I hadn’t scored in a while. Hopefully that’s good for my confidence and I can bang in a few more.”
The victory over Crewe means this is will be the first time the Reds have contested in fourth round of the competition since 2013, when they beat Championship side Hull City 1-0 at KCOM to progress into the Quarter Finals, where they eventually lost out to Manchester City.
And, after putting their name into the hat for Monday’s fourth round draw, both Thomas and Barnsley, will be hoping they can pull out another big name this time around.
The midfielder added: “The possibility of drawing a big team in the next round is one of the motivations and that is why the FA Cup is so good. All of the lads wanted to get through and hopefully we can get a big fish in the next stage.”
Following the result at Gresty Road, the 20-year-old also commended the character within the team, after the Reds fell to their first defeat in five games against Derby on Thursday.
Thomas believed it was highly important for the Reds to return to winning ways in the FA Cup, as they look to build momentum going into the Yorkshire derby against Huddersfield on Saturday.
He said: “I think we’ve got a lot of character in the squad now. There are more people stepping up and being leaders. Thursday night against Derby was obviously disappointing. We didn’t play as well as we had done in previous games, so it was important for us to come to Crewe and show a professional performance to make sure we got the result we wanted.”