MICHAL Helik’s dream for 2022 is to stay in the Championship with Barnsley then reach this year’s World Cup with Poland.

The 26-year-old centre-back, who has been a regular with Poland for the last year and was in their Euro 2020 squad, is hoping to be selected for the World Cup qualifier against Russia in Moscow on March 24.

Before then, he knows Barnsley will have to pick up several crucial wins if they are to have any chance of staying in the Championship.

Helik told the Chronicle: “If I can say my dream list for this year it is to stay in the league with Barnsley – we will not fight for anything more than that this season – and to go with the national team to Qatar.

“The qualifying game is many weeks away but it is so important for us.”

Asked if he had to be playing in at least the Championship next season to achieve his international ambitions, Helik said: “I think so.

“It’s not only about being an international, it is about my dreams and ambitions to compete at a higher level.

“I don’t think any one of us wants to play in a lower division.

“I am not focusing on the summer, it is hard to say what will happen then.

“We don’t know where we will be so we are not discussing it.”

Helik was linked with a move away in January but stayed.

“My agent spoke with the club, the club told me they wanted me to stay. I wasn’t fighting with them. I feel good here and I need to give something to Barnsley because they gave me a lot.

“It is my first club abroad. It is my aim to give them good results.”

Helik has been relegated before, from the Polish top flight with his hometown club Ruch Chorzow in 2017.

“It was my club when I was growing up so there were difficult feelings,” said the defender, who now finds himself bottom of the Championship with Barnsley.

“This is different, but it is a very tough situation compared to last season. It’s one of the toughest moments in my career but I hope it will finish positively. It is not so bad that we cannot get out of this.

“It is a big test of character, every tough moment makes you stronger in the future. I am trying to learn a lot to be a better player and a more experienced individual. We need to find that good momentum and change it because now we are on bad momentum.

“If we can reach a winning momentum we can go up the table so quick.

“You can feel that everything is against you, you make simple mistakes and the opponents always score, when we have opportunities we do not score.

“Everyone is working hard, no one is moaning about the situation.

“It is tough to be happy and funny when you get results like this.

“We are more focused on hard work than having a great atmosphere, but we don’t argue with each other, we just push each other.”