Speaking after our U18s 5-0 emphatic victory against Coventry City on Saturday, Tom Harban expressed his delight at the young Reds’ performance that saw them go top of the Professional Development League.
Fabio Jalo, Lloyd Smith, Theo Chapman and Charlie Hickingbottom all found the target during a magnificent display as our youngsters recorded their biggest win of the season.
“We have come here and we had a gameplan in our mind of what we wanted to do with and without the ball and obviously conditions play a big part in that, so the lads have had to adapt in the game and mix up the game a little bit more do a little bit more back to front than what we might have liked,” said Harban.
“But we got a lot of joy with it, so I’m really pleased with how they adapted to that, they took their chances really well and, without the ball I thought they were excellent. They got about players, they pressed in numbers and won the ball back which gave us opportunities to break on the counter so, overall, I’m really pleased.”
Chapman was a standout player in this game, coming into the starting line-up late after Harrison Nejman took ill the night before, and he capped a fine afternoon by rattling home his side’s fourth goal off the underside of the crossbar.
Harban was full of praise for the young midfielder, who has had to be patient for opportunities in his first year at this level.
“I thought Theo was excellent coming in last minute for Harrison, who reported poorly late Friday night,” continued our U18s coach. “So, he got thrown in last minute, but you could see that he took the information on board and he has managed to put it into the game.
“We had a little tweak of it because of the personnel change, but I thought everyone to a man was excellent in terms of what they had to do.”
This result sees Barnsley leapfrog Coventry at the top of the table, and the manner of victory was particularly impressive given last weekend’s South Yorkshire derby against Sheffield Wednesday was postponed.
Fixture disruption is never ideal, especially when trying to build a consistent run, but Harban was delighted with the way his youngsters applied themselves against quality opposition.
“I keep banging on to them about momentum,” he asserted. “In performance, you are only as good as your last game really, so for them it was disappointing to miss that game because that was a big game.
“We managed to get a bounce game in which was good for the lads in terms of the physical side. I told them keep doing what you’re doing because that breeds confidence and that breeds performance – that’s what we are looking for mainly; the lads performing week in week out and we are hitting good levels which is great.”