JOHN McAtee is hoping his loan at Barnsley which started with a whirlwind 48 hours can be a huge year in his career.

The forward, 24, joined on a season-long loan from Luton Town on Thursday then came off the bench in the 2-0 win at Wigan Athletic on Saturday – netting the last goal and celebrating with a back flip.

McAtee told the Chronicle: “I just trained on Friday. I knew one or two of the lads, but not too many.

“They’ve been great and helped me a lot. I am thankful for that and hopefully I can repay them.”

McAtee should have scored minutes into his debut but missed an open goal, then he hit the post before eventually netting.

“I am confident person. It’s not nice to miss an open net. But I just thought ‘they have ten men, you will get more chances, just put the next one away.’”

McAtee can play either in attacking midfield or as a striker.

“In the past I have been a number ten. The one off the strikers has been my preferred position – not just me, other managers played me there.

“I am just happy to be on the pitch.

“I like playing up front in a two like I did on Saturday.

“I think I have been brought in as a forward but I have versatility in the locker if I need to drop deeper or play higher.”

McAtee’s professional debut for Shrewsbury was his only experience of League One football before the game in Wigan.

“I have played once before when I was 17 and it was a five-minute cameo.

“I am excited for the challenge and excited to play here.”

He added: “Gametime is the main thing. I have not had as much experience as some 24-year-olds

“The boss at Luton (former Barnsley defender Rob Edwards) told me to get minutes, goals and assists. I want to put last season right. My performances were not as good as they can be

“I like to think I could have got on a few times for Luton in the Premier League, but I want to play regularly.”

McAtee began his career at Shrewsbury but was released in 2019 having made just one league appearance and been loaned out to several non-league clubs.

He then spent two years at League Two Scunthorpe United, playing 49 league games and scoring four goals.

His best season was with National League Grimsby Town in 2021/22 when he scored 16 goals including in the 5-4 play-off semi-final win at Wrexham and at Wembley in the final victory over a Solihull Moors side featuring his new Reds team-mate Andy Dallas.

That earned him a move last summer to Luton who loaned him back to Grimsby in League Two, netting four goals in 26 games during an injury-troubled season.

He played this summer in pre-season games for the Hatters who are now in the Premier League.

His brother James McAtee is at Manchester City and helped Sheffield United to promotion to the Premier League last season.

His father and grandfather played professional rugby league while he is also related to England World Cup winner Alan Ball.