BRAD Colilns is set to make his 50th appearance for Barnsley against Swansea City in the first leg of the play-offs on Monday which he says will be easily the biggest game of his career.
The 23-year-old goalkeeper has played 49 times for the Reds since signing in 2019, including their last 23 matches.
Collins told the Chronicle: “It’s a fantastic milestone for me.
“I have been here nearly two years.
“I have had lots of ups and down here, like you do in football, but now I’m in the team and to get to the play-offs is a fantastic achievement for the club.”
Collins played in a League Cup semi-final for Burton Albion and in FA Youth Cup finals for Chelsea but believes the next two matches will be the most important of his career. He said: “These are the biggest games I’ve been in by a long mile. I was in some games at youth level which were big back then but nothing like this.”
Collins spent the first half of the season mainly on the bench with Jack Walton starting, but was brought into the first 11 by Valerien Ismael in January.
“Before I came into the team under Valerien, I had played maybe two or three games under (Gerhard) Struber since the lockdown started in March last year. It was a very long time to be off the pitch so it took a while to get up to my best and get fully confident again. But I’m delighted to be back playing football again.”
Collins is looking forward to playing in front of Barnsley fans on Monday.
“It’s fantastic for the club and I’m buzzing for supporters. For them to see us in the play-offs will be special for them. I’d expect them to be loud because they haven’t been at a match for a long time.”
Collins was part of the squad that stayed up in the last minutes of last season. He said: “Last year was very tough but this year we have been tremendous, taking on board what the gaffer asks us to do, and we’re reaping the benefit.
“The gaffer has instilled a winning mentality. It’s a massive turnaround. But we’re young and hungry footballers who want to improve and the improvement we have made has been great.
“We have worked all season to get into this position. We have had a few days off to get energy back now we’re looking forward to the Swansea games. They are a fantastic team.
“They were in the top six this season and they were in the play-offs last season. We have some good results against the so-called bigger teams. We are a young team and don’t fear anyone.”