BEN WILLIAMS is pleased with his gametime so far this season but now is hoping to land a consistent starting spot in Markus Schopp’s Barnsley side.
The 22-year-old left-back, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, has started five of the Reds’ 11 Championship matches so far.
He started the first two league matches, which won the Reds four of their current tally of eight points.
Then he was left out of the squad for a month before starting at Bournemouth and being the victim of a powerful Phil Billing tackle on 28 minutes which head coach Markus Schopp said warranted a red card. He missed two games but started in the 1-0 losses to Blackpool and Millwall before the international break which ends today. Williams told the Chronicle: “There are always worries in your head about whether you will be the same player when you come back.
“It’s been frustrating not to have a consistent role in the team but I would probably have taken five starts by this point.
“I just want to have a long run now.
“I was always going to be eased back in. I started the first couple then the gaffer pulled me aside and said they wanted to manage me which makes sense and I respect his decision and the physio’s decision. The results have been frustrating so the manager is changing the team a lot.”
On the Billing tackle, Ben said: “It was just a relief to come out of it with nothing serious. I had bone bruising and it’s still sore now but it was a relief after last season. When it first happened I thought ‘oh no’ even though I knew it was my shin not my knee but you can have a lengthy lay-off after tackles like that.”
Williams – who has made 41 appearances in total for the Reds – is delighted to be playing front of fans again.
“It’s brilliant. It’s never good to miss a season but if it’s when there are no fans or atmosphere, it is not a bad one to miss. Hopefully the fans can rally us on.
“I understand it’s tough to get behind us at the moment but we need them more than anything.”
Barnsley are in the relegation zone with eight points from 11 games. Williams said: “It’s been a tough run, results-wise, and it’s not fallen into place for us on the pitch. We’ve been working on things that have let us down like being clinical in the final third and sharpening up a bit at the back. The gaffer has spoken to us in team meetings. We know it is very early days. We were probably in a worse position last season and look at where we finished. We know we have the quality to turn it around. We have a new chief exec, new manager and new players so it will take time. We know we have to turn results around soon and we’re confident we can. The type of lads we are, we want to finish as high as we can. We have had a couple of weeks now to prepare for the next game. We see this as a clean slate and a chance to charge back up the table.”