CAULEY Woodrow is the only player in the Barnsley squad to have played in the Premier League before and is hoping to fire them back there in the next three weeks.
The striker – who finished as top-scorer in the league season with 12 as the Reds made the play-offs – played for Felix Magath’s Fulham towards the end of the 2013/14 Premier League campaign, which saw them relegated.
He was 19 and had been on loan at League Two Southend United, before starting five top flight games and coming on in one other, also scoring against Crystal Palace on the final day.
Woodrow told the Chronicle: “It’s always been my goal to get back there.
“I had that little taste with Fulham which I thoroughly enjoyed. You want to play against the best players in the best league. We have played against Chelsea this season and done really well so we know what it’s like.
“I was very young when I played in the Premier League for Fulham and I’ve learned an awful lot since then.
“I played really well but it I would like to get back there seven years on and see how much I have improved.
“It was a really strange experience.
“I wasn’t training with the first team then I did for a couple of weeks but the manager hadn’t spoken to me at all.
“I travelled to Cardiff and thought I would be the 19th man but I started.
“I had no time to think about it but it was a great experience.
“We got relegated but, on a personal note, it got my name out there.”
On the prospect of getting back to the top flight with Barnsley, Woodrow added: “It’s really exciting. I am trying not to think about it too much but it would be nice. All the hard work we have put in in our whole careers are for moments like this. Some players go their whole careers without having the chance to do something like this.
“We have a massive opportunity to achieve something. We don’t have pressure from people above saying we have to get promoted. But we want to do it and we’ll give everything we can.”
About 4,500 fans are due to return to Oakwell for the play-off first leg against Swansea on Monday. Woodrow said: “I have always played in front of crowds. It’s part of the game whether things are going well or not.
“At the start, it was super strange and I found it really hard. Fans motivate you whether you notice it or not. I have had to get used to it.
“Whether they had been here this season or not, the outcome would have been exactly the same.”
The last time fans were at Oakwell, in March last year, Barnsley were bottom of the Championship and now they return to watch them in the play-offs.
Woodrow said: “It’s amazing. I don’t know what team has ever done anything like this over the years.
“It’s credit to everyone involved. We’re just enjoying it, feeling good and taking it into the next games.”
Woodrow’s three seasons with the Reds have seen them clinch promotion from League One in the final week, stay up in the last seconds last year then reach the play-offs.
“It’s never boring. It’s been a very exciting three seasons – although last season was more nerve-racking.
“There has always been something to play for until the last week.
“It’s been an honour to be part of it.”