Barnsley U23s are back in action on Friday afternoon as they entertain Burnley at the Oakwell Training Ground.
The young Reds are looking to get back to winning ways following their 3-0 defeat to Professional Development League leaders Nottingham Forest last week.
Keaton Ward is set to make his return from injury for Martin Devaney’s side having been sidelined for almost two months, and he is raring to go ahead of the Clarets’ visit to South Yorkshire.
“It’s been a long seven weeks and I hadn’t played too much before that because a few of the first team lads had been involved, but I’m buzzing to get back playing now,” said the midfielder.
“I feel a lot better and a lot stronger; I’ve done running for a few weeks and I’m getting back up to full fitness – I just need to get through my first game and kick on from there.
“It’s been an absolute nightmare because I’ve never really had an injury, so I didn’t know how to deal with in. Being out for seven weeks has been tough, especially with the games we’ve had.”
Burnley are in good form heading into this encounter, with four wins from their last five outings – including a 5-0 victory over their Lancashire rivals Bolton Wanderers at the start of December.
With just one defeat all season, the Clarets are likely to provide a stern test for Barnsley and travel to the Oakwell Training Ground sitting second in the table.
“We’ve gone through all the analysis and know their strengths and weaknesses, and know how to play against them with their style of play,” continued Ward, who signed for the Reds in the summer. “We’ve tried to develop a format around them not playing to their strengths.
“The lads are looking for a reaction and I think Martin is looking for a reaction, too, because it’s not been bad performances – just silly mistakes for goals, which has let us down a little bit.
“I think everyone in the changing room is desperate for a win, so if we all do our job on Friday then there’s no reason why we can’t come out on top.”
You can find out how our U23s fare on Friday afternoon by attending the game for FREE, kick-off at 2pm.
Alternatively, you can follow updates on our official Academy Twitter account: @AcademyBFC.
Any supporters wishing to attend this game are politely reminded not to park on Grove Street, but to park in the CK Beckett South Stand car park.