“I had to stay patient, but also to be ready to take my opportunity when it came.” Brad tells us, as we reflect upon the last four months.
“Obviously, I wasn’t getting any minutes in the league games so it was about making sure I performed well in the FA Cup matches.
“Whoever is second choice tends to get the cup games in this day and age.
“So I was waiting for the FA Cup to come around, staying patient and luckily I think I did okay against Tranmere Rovers and a couple of weeks later again, against Norwich City.
“I got a couple of clean sheets, we won the games and from there I’ve been the one given the role in the league as well.”
That little run in the grandest of cup competitions earned the Reds plenty of admirers and plaudits and eventually a huge tie with Collins’ former teammates from Stamford Bridge.
A second clash of the season with Chelsea went much better than the first attempt. But because of the theory that number two ‘keepers ordinarily get to play in the cup matches, was Brad worried, having gained the gloves for the league games by the time the Blues came to Oakwell, that he’d have to sit it out?
“Yeah, I did have that in the back of my mind a little bit. But then, I think because we’d won two games and I got two clean sheets, I think that’s why I still played when the Chelsea game came around.
“It was great to play against them for a second time this season but this time it was a much better result. We didn’t get through, but I think anyone watching would have said we deserved more out of that one.
“It served as a catalyst I feel for what we’ve done since that game, in terms of our league form.”
It most certainly did. The Reds have only lost one game since that cruel cup exit back in February. Included in that sequence was a run of seven consecutive victories and just this Easter Monday, Barnsley registered a sixth successive away win, creating a club record in the process.
The form this year has been nothing short of extraordinary and it’s no surprise to hear Collins speaking about the mentality within the Reds’ ranks right now.
“There’s a real belief in the dressing room.” He says, stern-faced.
“We go into every game confident, we don’t fear anyone at all. We are just so confident in each other and what each player brings to the table now.
“We all have our part to play, everyone gets their chance.”
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