NOT MANY former Barnsley players can remember facing Barrow AFC but Barry Murphy can and is expecting a difficult game when the clubs meet in the FA Cup third round at Oakwell.

The Reds used to regularly play the Cumbrian club in the 1960s, before Barrow slipped into non-league football in 1972 and only returned to the EFL in 2020.

Murphy, Barnsley’s all-time record appearance-maker, said: “We played against them a lot in the ‘60s. Barrow and Workington were some of our longest trips.

“The facilities weren’t the best, like a lot of grounds back then, and it was a typical lower league club. You always knew you had been in a battle after you played Barrow. It was a shame to see them go out of the Football League and I am glad they are back.

“It was always a tough game against them.

“They used to have decent crowds, both home and away.”

Murphy was at the club when Barnsley lost FA Cup games to the likes of Rhyl and Marine and hopes the Reds avoid another upset.

“This won’t be a foregone conclusion. When Barnsley were in the third or fourth division we would always rise to the occasion against bigger teams in the cup.

“We would enjoy the bigger occasion and I am sure Barrow will be the same on Saturday. They won’t come down and make it easy for Barnsley.

“We can’t take it for granted.

“If we think it will be easy we will have a shock.”

Murphy is wary of the threat of Barrow top-scorer Ollie Banks, son of Ian Banks who he brought into the Barnsley first team when a coach.

“He’s one of their star men.

“I am sure he will get them motivated.

“He makes everything happen for them and he’s a good player at that level.”

Murphy is shocked and disappointed to see Barnsley second-bottom in the Championship, with two wins from 24, after finishing fifth last season.

“It’s been tough, especially for the supporters. No one expected this after last season. The fans have been fantastic but there’s only so much they can take

“Hopefully the new manager (Poya Asbaghi) is getting his tactics and ideas across. I think we’re short of a couple of players in the middle of the park.

“I would go for a more experienced player in this window who can dictate midfield.

“We’re giving the ball away too much. You don’t get time in the Championship.”

Murphy is a club ambassador and hosts in the Legend Suite during home games, a role he has returned to this season after fans were allowed back. He summarises each game after the final whistle.

He said: “I am running out of things to talk about and it’s not easy. Let’s hope we get out of it because we worked hard to get out of League One and we don’t want to go back there. Hopefully we can put some good results together and the manager works his magic.”