The 20-year-old right-back was injured at the start of the campaign then, after returning in September, a hamstring problem kept him out for almost two months. But he has returned to the side for the last four matches in which Barnsley have trebled their tally of victories for the season with wins over Hull City and Queens Park Rangers while the gap to safety, which was once eight points, has been halved to four.
Williams said: “It was a tough start to the season with two injuries but I am looking to put that behind me and cement my place in the team. After my last injury, I looked at my first few games and what I could have done better. It has been a tough spell for the team but that’s in the past and we’re doing well under the new manager and, if we keep going and stick to his gameplan, then everything will be alright. We have come through a massive tough spell and come out of the other end and we’re starting to get results. The fans have stuck with us and we’re trying to repay them. There are a lot of games over Christmas, we can pick up a lot of points and we should be OK.”
Williams is part of a very young defence, usually with an average age of 20, while the Reds are yet to keep a clean sheet since August. He said: “We’re starting to get there but we need to improve. It has taken a while but we’re on the right path. We just need to see out games more and be more solid for 90 minutes, not let teams back in. We’re developing every game and talking more. We need to be tighter at the back and, if we keep talking and improving each other, we will get there.
"We need that clean sheet and then to build on it. We’re working hard on it in training. Clarke Oduor came in for his first game so we had to try to help him out but he did well and hopefully he’ll keep his place. In this manager’s system, the main idea for the full-backs is to defend whereas before it was attacking and defending. I can still get forward but I have to stay back when the other full-back goes forward. It’s a more clear gameplan now.”
Gerhard Struber is the third manager Williams has worked under this season after Daniel Stendel was sacked in October then caretaker Adam Murray had five games in charge. The manager has been a breath of fresh air. We didn’t get a result in his first two games but, after that, we have done well and we’re slowly getting used to his plan and his style which is starting to show in the results.”