BARNSLEY head coach Neill Collins acknowledges it was a difficult choice to leave out Jack Shepherd and give Jamie McCart his league debut on Saturday – but he insists he wants more of those difficult decisions.
Shepherd, who joined the Reds in the close season from non-league Pontefract Collieries, was promoted to the first team on a fast track last month, and his commanding performances justified Collins’ faith.

But the Scot elected to give McCart, who came on a season-long loan from Rotherham United, his League One debut against Burton and start with Shepherd on the bench – with the loanee’s impressive performance proving a definite tick in the box for the Reds boss.

Collins, whose team is aiming for their fifth consecutive win – and clean sheet – in all competitions against Portsmouth at home on Tuesday night, said: “To all intents and purposes, Jack Shepherd deserved to play, but we need a lot of players who deserve to play because of the way they train and how good they are.”

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“Jack played really well in the two games before that, and I’m really happy with how he’s progressing since joining the team.”

“It’s a good situation, and Jack recognized it.” The only way to respond is to train even harder and demonstrate that you are ready for the next opportunity.

“On Saturday, Jamie demonstrated the quality he brings, as well as his experience, and he will only get better.” He did not play a lot of football last year. But before that, he was a regular in the Scottish Premier League.

“It was a good league debut, and hopefully there will be many more like it.”

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