JOHN McAtee says he turned down a move to a Championship club in January because he wants to experience promotion with Barnsley.

The 24-year-old has 11 goals for the Reds in all competitions this season, having ended an 11-game goalless run with two in his last three including one at Carlisle United on Tuesday.

Head coach Neill Collins revealed the striker, who is on loan from Premier League Luton Town, could have left Oakwell in January to join a second tier club but chose to stay.

McAtee told the Chronicle: “I had a couple interested. One was concrete that I turned down. A big part of it was I have been lucky enough to be promoted out of the National League with Grimsby and it was probably the best day of my life. I honestly believe in the lads, the gaffer and what we’re trying to do. I want another one of those days and another promotion on my CV.

“I am playing most weeks, I enjoy it here and it was a no-brainer to stay.”

McAtee was promoted two seasons ago with Grimsby Town from the National League, scoring in the play-off final.

Fifth-placed Barnsley are hoping for automatic promotion from League One this season. He said: “It was through the play-offs so a bit different but either way it’s a great day.

“You would prefer to be on a beach two weeks earlier. But if you knew you were going up, I would choose the play-offs because of the occasion.”

He added: “We’re looking up the league. It’s not impossible. It’s going right to the end of the season and hopefully we can get there. The lads have done great and, if we get it, it will be well-deserved. Hopefully, being the back marker of the top five, we can be the one that sneaks up.”

McAtee usually celebrates his goals with a backflip, even last week against Bolton Wanderers having just recovered from a back problem.

“I have done it a few times in the past.

“I fell over the other day. I forgot I had a back bad. As I jumped in the air, I remembered. I need to rein it in. I did it on Tuesday but into the net by accident when I scored.”

McAtee has mainly played alongside Devante Cole this season but, after the top-scorer was dropped for Tuesday’s match, he partnered Sam Cosgrove instead.

He said: “I enjoyed it. It’s nice to have a focal point to run off.

“Devante is good in the air too but Sam is more of a traditional target man, you can make a run off him.”