SAM COSGROVE was glad to net on a rare start for Barnsley this week and hopes it is the first of regular goals in the promotion run-in.

The 27-year-old striker, who signed last summer from Birmingham City, headed in the opener in a 2-1 success at Fleetwood Town on Saturday, having made just his fourth league start for the club.

In total he has scored twice in 24 appearances but has played just 676 league minutes – less than eight full games – with top-scorer Devante Cole and loanee John McAtee generally preferred in the front two.

Cosgrove told the Chronicle: “D and Macca have been doing well and I’ve had to bide my time and be patient.

“As soon as the manager gave me the nod, I knew it was for a reason and I was glad to repay that faith and get on the scoresheet. It was a good moment for me.

“I enjoyed it, especially in front of our fans in the away end.

“In general, I think I have been contributing to the team pretty well.

“The goals haven’t been there and that is frustrating. But my role has been coming off the bench and changing dynamics of games. I am happy with that.

“But hopefully that goal starts a bit of a scoring run.

“The manager (Neill Collins) is brilliant. We’re in constant dialogue about what he wants from me. I am honest with him. No player is going to be happy sat on the bench. But we’ve been doing well and winning so, if that’s my contribution, then I will take it.”

Cosgrove – who is studying for a degree in accounting finance – is hoping for a second successive promotion out of League One, having been part of the Plymouth Argyle side which won the title last season while he was on loan.

The Devon club were top for much of the campaign whereas the Reds are chasing the three teams above them.

“Last year Plymouth went under the radar and I feel this is a similar situation. A lot of focus has been on other teams. We’ve been quietly going about our business. As long as we keep churning out results we will be in a good position. We’re one of the more in-form teams in the league at the moment. Confidence is high.”

Barnsley have a chance to close the gap on those above them tomorrow when they host second-placed Derby County.

Cosgrove said: “These are the kind of games you want to be involved in, in front of nearly a sell-out crowd.

“It’s no surprise Derby are one of the stronger sides, they have one of the bigger budgets. They have a good manager and good quality. But we’ve been working on them all week and we know where we can hurt them and where we can get some joy against them.

“We’re just looking forward to it.”

Cosgrove has good memories of playing Derby, netting twice off the bench for Plymouth who came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 last season.

“That was at Pride Park. If I can come close to replicating that this season, I would be happy.”

Like Cosgrove, striker Max Watters has struggled for gametime this season.

Watters has been left out of the matchday squad recently, instead playing with the under 21s.

Cosgrove said: “Competition is good in a squad. You need it to keep people on their toes. Max has found himself out of the squad but that’s pretty much every player in their career at some point.

“All you can do is knuckle down and work hard. Max is a quality player and his attitude is brilliant off the field.

“He will get his chances.”

On the Fleetwood game in general, Cosgrove said: “It was never going to be easy – tough conditions against a team fighting for their lives. It was a real battling performance and our quality shone through at the right time and we got the result we deserved ultimately.”