CHARLIE Harris is looking forward to playing his first senior match at Oakwell with Horsham in the FA Cup, having spent most of 2016 with Barnsley.
The Reds signed the midfielder from Brighton in February 2016 and he left later that year without playing a first team game.
He is now in his second spell with seventh-tier Horsham who travel to Oakwell for the FA Cup first round tie on Friday.
Harris, now 27, told the Chronicle: “I was out for lunch with my family when the draw was made and I just started laughing a lot.
“Barnsley are probably one of the biggest clubs in the FA Cup at the moment and we are probably one of the lowest.
“I will be going back to where my pro career ended.
“If it was six months after I left, I might have wanted to prove people at Barnsley wrong.
“But seven years later I don’t have those feelings.
“I am just excited to go back there.
“Hopefully it’s a big crowd and we’ll try to get through to the next round.
“We’re not expected to win but we’ll do everything we can.
“It’s going to be exciting for me and the boys.”
Horsham were due to travel up the night before the game.
Harris said: “The boys are asking what we’re going to do all day on the Friday.
“I said I would take them on a sight-seeing tour of Barnsley.
“I am not sure how far we’d get.
“Maybe swimming in the Metrodome?”
Harris captained Barnsley’s under 21s, playing some games on the first team pitch, and was on the first team bench for a 0-0 draw with Scunthorpe United in March 2016.
Harris said: “It was really really good.
“I have friends I still speak to all the time from when I was there like James Bree, Jack Cowgill, Josh Kay and Callum Evans.
“I signed because I wanted to play first team football.
“Lee Johnson signed me, gave me number 21 and I was training with the first team then he left a few days later.
“Hecky (Paul Heckingbottom) came in and had his team which did a lot of good things.
“I was there at a really successful time when they won the JPT and got promoted.
“Then, when they got to the Championship, it was a level above me realistically.
“I loved my time there.
“But I was five hours away from home and on an under 21s wage which doesn’t cover too much.
“I needed to move on eventually.”
Harris left in September 2016 by mutual consent and was set to move to Northampton Town with Paul Wilkinson who had been his under 21s coach at Oakwell.
But the move fell through and he eventually dropped into non-league football while forging a new career in sales – currently working for finance company Revolut.
“I found I was a little bit better at sales than football. But I love playing non-league football at the weekend and it’s a massive part of my life.
“At Horsham, it’s all of our second jobs and we mainly do it for the enjoyment.
“We have a mixture of teachers, builders and people who do other jobs – our left-back works for HMRC.
“We have Sami El-Abd, the brother of Adam El-Abd who played at Brighton, our centre forward Shamir Fenelon who has played in the Championship, League One and League Two, and Kadell Daniel is an international for Guyana.
“Then there are myself and a few others who got to pro level but never made that full breakthrough.
“We’ve got a ridiculous team for the level and we’re on good form.”
Horsham have complained to South Yorkshire Police after the tie was moved to Friday night.
Harris said: “It’s disappointing.
“I don’t know whose fault it is.
“For a lot of our players, it’s probably the biggest game we will have in our careers.
“We would all want to play in front of all our family and friends.
“On a Saturday, Horsham would bring easily 500 maybe 1,000 fans.
“But that will be limited now which is such a shame, and probably there will be fewer Barnsley fans there than on a Saturday.
“If it had been moved for TV, that would have been exciting.
“It’s not been easy for some of the boys to arrange days off work but we’re going there to focus on the game now.”