Skip to main content Skip to site footer


10 August 2022



10 August 2022

After a hard fought but ultimately disappointing 3-2 loss against Bristol City U21s in their season opener, Tom Harban made it clear how important sticking to the game plan is for the young Barnsley team.

Despite Fabio Jalo’s dismissal in the 30th minute, the young Reds almost salvaged a point in what was an intense first outing of the Professional Development League campaign. A first minute goal from the Robins set the precedent for the game which was unfortunately decided by a late Palmer Holden strike to seal the win for the visitors.

“I thought we started really poorly, in terms of what we asked and said,” discussed Harban after the Reds conceded in the first minute of the game. “The game plan was that we knew Bristol City were going to come here and get after us and put us under pressure, so I’m disappointed in terms of the lads not taking on the information by not looking to turn them round early and play in their half a little bit to get out of the pressure and get a feeling for the game. We caused our own problems, 1-0 down straight away.

“The second goal was probably a mistake from our part as well. All these things can be stopped and learnt from which is pleasing, that can make us a little more comfortable and settle into games better, but overall, I think the lads have done really well today.”

A pivotal moment of the game came on the half hour mark when tensions rose and both teams clashed. Following the melee, Fabio Jalo was shown a straight red card, leaving the team to play 60 minutes a man down and Harban with a selection headache for the next game.

“He’ll be a miss, but Fabio needs to learn now,” he began. “He plays on the edge a little bit but he’s getting into real football now and things like that cost your team, like it has done today. We’ve had to go 60 minutes with ten men. They’ve had to run harder and compete harder just because he made a rash decision.

“I’ve said to him to learn from it, be a bit brighter from it and maybe try to get a reaction from their player the opposite way. It’s disappointing but as long as he learns from it, which he needs to, it’ll benefit him in the long run.”

Performances from both full-backs in the Barnsley team stood out from the rest. Hayden Pickard was directly involved in the build up to both goals, winning the ball back for the second before the man on the opposite side, Kareem Hassan-Smith, smashed the ball into the back of the net to level the scores. Harban praised both players for their efforts throughout the game.

“I think Hayden is doing really well; he’s played two years in the under 18s and a year for the under 16s,” he started. “I think he needs to be pushed, he needs to be tested at this level now physically and in all the games pre-season he’s not looked out of place and, again, he’s performed well. He’s had to work extremely hard for the team, like they all have once Fab got sent off, and I’m really pleased with where he is at the minute.

“Kareem is honest and works so hard. There are parts where he can improve in his decision making and quality on the ball, but he can get up and down the pitch and be a threat in an attacking sense, and that’s why he got into the area where he scored his goal. We’ve got threats in the wing-back areas, but we need to cut out the silly mistakes.”

The coach highlighted the importance of the team ironing out the mistakes that cost them in the game. When asked about any areas of improvement the team can focus on for the next game, Harban only had one thing to say.

“We need to stick to the game plan,” he asserted, “especially early doors, that might help, and that’s about it!"

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match Tickets Account