Victor Adeboyejo had an unsuccessful trial at Premier League giants Arsenal as a schoolboy but, after playing for ten clubs including Hemel Hempstead Town, Heybridge Swifts and Margate, he is now three games away from reaching the top flight with Barnsley.
The 23-year-old striker is one of the longest-serving players at Oakwell, having joined in 2017 after a stint with Leyton Orient who loaned him out to six non-league clubs. Adeboyejo spent last season on loan at League Two Bristol Rovers and League Two Cambridge United, scoring twice in 38 games.
He was given another chance at Barnsley by Valerien Ismael and scored in the wins over Derby and Preston, but has not netted in his last 24 appearances as Barnsley secured a place in the play-offs. In total, he has started 19 games for the Reds, 11 in the league, and come off the bench 48 times.
Adeboyejo told the Chronicle: “The goal for any player is to get into the Premier League. How you get there is down to you and your determination and drive. It’s obviously something I would relish. It’s not something I would have imagined at the start of the season. The goal was just to try to get as many games as possible. To do that and to be pushing for promotion is crazy.”
The last time Adeboyejo played in front of Barnsley fans was in March 2019. About 4,500 are due to watch Monday’s first leg. He said: “Every player is just looking forward to that noise and that 12th man support. They give us an extra boost and extra will to fight. We’re really looking forward to it.”
Adeboyejo is looking forward to the semi-final with Swansea City who beat Barnsley twice in the league season.
“It’s a totally different game. It’s not the Championship, it’s the play-offs and it’s a new mindset. Swansea are a good team with strong players who have been there and done it. We’re Barnsley, we know what we can do. We can turn it on any time. A lot of teams change their way of playing to destabilise us. But we’re used to that now and we’ll give them a difficult game.
“There isn’t any pressure, we just want to go out there and impose ourselves. We have done so well as a team to get to this position but we know we can turn anyone over. We’re quietly confident that we can do this. Everyone loves an underdog story. We’re Barnsley and a lot of Championship teams don’t expect us to have high ambitions. But we deserve to be where we are.”