JASPER Moon is thrilled to be playing regular Championship football for the first time in his career but admits Barnsley ‘haven’t been up to scratch’ so far this season.
The 20-year-old centre-back has started eight matches this season, having only started once previously in his career, for the Reds who are in the relegation zone and winless in 11.
Moon told the Chronicle: “For me personally it’s been a massive step up.
“I only played three games last season and now I’ve played 11 so on a personal level it’s a massive achievement.
“I think I have played okay. I could have done better in a few games but in others I have done quite well.
“But it’s always team-first and, as a team, we probably haven’t been up to scratch.
“Because we’re so young it doesn’t faze us and we know we can get out of it.”
Moon set himself a target of starting five games this season which he has already surpassed.
“I didn’t expect to play this much.
“I got a bit of luck when Kitch (Liam Kitching) got suspended.
“Once you’re in the team, it’s your spot to lose. If my performances aren’t good, I wouldn’t blame the gaffer for taking me out.”
Moon says the Reds are adapting to Markus Schopp’s passing style, and ignoring the criticism of some fans.
“The international break was great for a refresh. Everyone understands their roles. We should know them three months into the season.
“We see all the discussions of the fans but we are all behind the manager.
“The only people who can change this around are the players.
“We need to remind everyone that we finished fifth last season, because they are starting to forget.
“We can get back to that form.
“It’s things like this that can really test you in your career. If this happens again in the future, I will deal with it better.”
Barnsley also suffered poor starts to the previous two seasons but recovered.
“Two years ago we were in a worse position than this, and we didn’t have a manager for a bit. Then last season didn’t start well, but we came back.
“We haven’t lost any belief. We’re just lacking that last bit of quality but I’m sure it will come.
“The circumstances we are in now aren’t the best but it can’t really get much worse, we can only move forward.
“When you’re down near the bottom, things sometimes don’t go for you like they do when you’re high up.”
While the defence has been reasonably solid, Barnsley have scored just two goals in their last eight games.
“We have got a massive amount of quality and loads of strikers who can all score goals. Once we score one, loads will start coming. It’s not just the strikers who need to score, it’s the defenders and midfielders as well.
“The strikers are doing extra finishing to get up to the standard we need.”
Moon has been used in midfield at times this season, but mainly has played as centre-back.
He said: “I am happy to be on the pitch anywhere, as long as I understand my role and I am told before what is expected of me.”