Our U23s continued their tremendous start to the Professional Development League campaign with a thumping 5-0 victory away at Charlton Athletic on Monday afternoon.
The young Reds, bolstered by a number of players from the senior set-up, were in prolific form and found the Midas touch at Princes Park. George Miller opened and finished the scoring, with goals from Jordan Green, Dan Bramall and a Luke Thomas ‘Panenka’ penalty securing all three points.
“All the lads applied themselves very well, stuck to the game plan and executed it really well,” said Martin Devaney. “Everyone was really good and, when you’ve got 10 or 11 players on their A-game, it makes it enjoyable and they warranted that result.
“They’ve been great. The attitude towards training – I know we’ve only got a small group, but their whole attitude towards training and the games has been great. Today, we had the more senior boys coming in and, the standards we’ve set, they lived up to as well.”
That’s now three wins in a row for our U23s and six games unbeaten as they continue to put down a real marker in the league.
It’s also the first time our youngsters have netted five in a game since April 2018 – a 5-1 victory at Coventry City, where Victor Adeboyejo was on the scoresheet.
“We know, first and foremost, that you work hard and do everything right, take on the messages quickly and give our all for the club, which, to a man, they’ve all been doing since the start of the season,” continued Devaney. “They’ve been giving 100% in every game and performing really well, which breeds good results.
“The lads have set really high standards, the 23s boys – all of them. They’re all doing really well as individuals and a team. The ones who were left out were really disappointed yesterday when I told them they weren’t playing, because we’ve had some really good performances in the past few weeks.
“I think it’s important not to get carried away but, if we can keep everyone fit and keep everyone here, from what I’ve seen so far I’m really excited. It’s good for the lads to perform how they do and, hopefully, they’ll get their chance in the first team.”
Bramall notched his sixth goal of a productive campaign as he bundled in from close range against the Addicks.
It is a start reminiscent of Elliot Simoes last season, who was eventually rewarded with his first team debut and hasn’t looked back since.
“He’s doing everything he can,” asserted Devaney. “All he can do is keep performing like that and just wait for his opportunity. He can’t do anymore; he’s scoring goals and is a threat. He’s learning the defensive side of the game and doing that well, so he just needs to wait for the opportunity, stay patient and I’m sure it’ll come.”
After his two-goal cameo against Charlton, Miller expressed his intentions to continue working hard and building his fitness as the season progresses.
The explosive forward made his first appearance of the campaign as Barnsley beat Watford 1-0 at the end of October and is eager to kick-on and get more minutes under his belt for Valérien Ismaël.
“It was nice to score a couple of goals, so I just want to build on when I came on for the first team the other day, get my chance and prove to people what I’m all about and try and get my Barnsley life started,” said Miller.
“I got the full 90 minutes, so that was good. I’ve not had 90 minutes in a long time. I did about 70 minutes against Sheffield United under 23s, so I need a few more 90 minutes to get myself up to speed.
“I want to play minutes and get as fit as I can so when I do get a chance, whenever that may be, I’m fit and raring to go. At the moment, fitness-wise, I’m not where I should be, and the only way I can get that is games, so it’s good to get a few miles in the legs.”
REDS XI: Addai (GK), Pache, Moon, Omar, Green, Christie-Davies, Winfield, Bramall, Simoes, Miller, Thomas.
Subs: Kendrick (GK), Helliwell, Lancaster, Binns, Simpson.