HERBIE Kane has been surprised by his former club Oxford United’s struggles this season but knows Barnsley are in for a tough game when they visit the Kassam Stadium on Saturday.
The midfielder, 24, played 37 games on loan to the Us last season while the Reds were being relegated out of the Championship.
Oxford just missed out on the play-offs in eighth with 76 points but they are now in mid-table, having been in the bottom six for much of the season.
Kane told the Chronicle: “I am surprised but I knew it wouldn’t be long until they started pick up.
“I think their recent form shows what they are all about.
“They have had a few good results and it will be a tough game for us.
“They have some great players and a good manager.
“They shouldn’t be where they are but they didn’t start well.
“We know it’s a hard game.”
On his loan at Oxford, Kane said: “I enjoyed it.
“I was happy playing at Oxford.
“We had a good season.
“But I am glad to be back here.
“I wouldn’t say I needed to get confidence back but I played games regularly, and we had a great group of lads.”
The Reds have raced up to fourth in the League One table, with four straight wins. Kane said: “We are trying to win every game.
“The other month we didn’t get a win (a four-game spell in October) so it comes in waves and we just have to find consistency.
“At the moment we are doing well and hopefully we can keep that going.
“We have to learn from the sticky month we had, but most teams go through a stage like that.”
Midfielders have started scoring recently, with both Kane and Luca Connell netting their first goals for the club while Kane’s former Liverpool academy colleague Adam Phillips has five in six.
“It’s important in a team that it’s not just the strikers contributing with the goals.
“In recent weeks the midfielders been scoring and creating more chances.
“We’re all being really positive.
“Adam is doing excellent.
“I knew the qualities he has so I am not surprised. We’ve been working hard and helping each other.
“Me and him have a good relationship, we’ve known each other a long time.
“I think that shows on the pitch.
“He’s always been a goal-scoring midfielder, with a great strike on him.
“He’s helping us a lot at the moment.”
Kane set up Phillips for the winner at Peterborough on Friday, with a square pass from a left wing free-kick which was expected by many to be crossed into the box.
“Me and Adam just came up with it as the game went on.
“I knew if the ball was right for him he can strike it well.
“If you say it was a ‘keeper mistake or not, it was a great strike and it won us the game. Big games are won on little margins like that.
“We were buzzing about it.”