OWEN Dodgson believes he and Barnsley’s other wing-backs can be a big asset for the team this season, with even better performances to come.
The 20-year-old left wing-back joined the Reds on loan from Premier League Burnley on transfer deadline day last month.
He scored on his debut in the EFL Trophy against Grimsby Town then has made five League One appearances, two from the start and three off the bench.
Dodgson has been competing for a place in the starting line-up with Nicky Cadden who has been the starting left wing-back for most of the last year.
He replaced Cadden in the starting line-up for the win at Northampton Town last month and the home loss to Blackpool before being back on the bench for the last two games.
Dodgson told the Chronicle: “Me and Cads are always pushing each other.
“If one person doesn’t start, they are ready to come on and make an impact. Rotation will be important this season.
“The most important thing is not to have our heads down if we don’t start. We have to keep a positive mindset.”
He added: “It’s good learning from someone like Cads who is a fair few years older than me and has played a lot more games.
“He’s a very good player and it’s good competition.
“I haven’t been used to playing a wing-back role and Cads did it all last season.
“He’s probably one of the most experienced players in the squad and he helps me when I ask him questions.”
Dodgson made a big impact in the win at Exeter City in Barnsley’s most recent game despite only coming off the bench on 81 minutes.
His cross was headed in by John McAtee for a 90th-minute winner.
“I was very happy with that.
“It was important to come away with the three points.
“I was happy for Macca to get the goal.
“I have to keep doing that if I come off the bench.”
He now has two assists this season while the other wing-backs Cadden, Barry Cotter and Corey O’Keeffe have three each.
Dodgson said: “We had a meeting with the wing-backs the other day.
“Davvers (coach Martin Devaney) took it.
“We just have to keep doing what we’re doing.
“We all have high expectations.
“We can keep pushing ourselves to get even better statistics, with crosses and corners.”
Dodgson was on the team bus after Exeter when it caught fire.
“I am just happy we had the three points and that everyone is OK and safe.
“It was bizarre but it’s gone now. We’re focusing on the next game.”
How would he sum up the season so far?
“I am really enjoying it.
“It’s a good group of lads, and a good set-up.
“I have been very happy with how we have done and how I have done myself.
“I just have to keep going, take each game as it comes and keep improving.”