CALLUM Styles admits this is the hardest time in his career so far but is hoping he can score the goals in his new attacking position in the coming weeks to inspire a remarkable turnaround for Barnsley.
The 21-year-old has played at left wing-back for most of his Barnsley career but recently has been used as an attacking midfielder, either behind the lone striker or on the right of a 4-2-3-1 system.
Styles netted five times last season but, since scoring his only goal of this campaign against Birmingham City in August, he has not struck in 20 games.
He had chances this week as he shot wide from close range against Birmingham again on Saturday, in a 2-1 defeat, then saw an effort blocked on the line on Tuesday in a 3-0 loss at Nottingham Forest. Styles told the Chronicle: “I am pushing to make a turnaround. I am feeling really good, creating a lot of stuff but it’s not going our way. It was very frustrating not to get that equaliser at Forest. There will be a turning point soon when those chances turn into goals.
“I enjoy playing on the right, I feel like I can express myself a bit more.
“It would be a good for me and the team if I start scoring. We need to score more because that wins you games but our main focus is holding on in the games and making sure we are still in them for the majority of the match, then push on and score.”
Barnsley are winless in ten, eight points adrift of safety at the bottom of the Championship. Styles said: “It has to be the most difficult spell of my career. I don’t think anyone saw it coming. The season has been a bit all over the show and the results have shown that. It’s a battle but hopefully we come out the other end. We haven’t won in a while and we’re all human so it’s going to affect us because we love winning and we love football. This league can humble you very quickly.
“But it’s up to a few of us, including me, who take the lead in the dressing room to keep morale high. We’re trying our best to stay positive. There are 20 games left, 60 points up for grabs which is a lot when you put it into perspective. Anything can happen, we just need that one win. In the last couple of weeks the training has been one of the best this season. It’s just about converting that onto the pitch for the full 90 minutes.”
Styles made his 100th appearance for Barnsley on Saturday at Birmingham, after signing in 2018. He said: “I didn’t know until after the game. It took me by surprise. It’s a good achievement for me and my family were proud.
“A lot has happened, we had the great escape and pushed for the play-offs then hopefully we can get out of this situation. The experience I have gained here is massive. 100 games is a lot for the age I am and in a league like this when you can have so many ups and downs in a short space of time.”