Dan's raising the Bar at Stanley
Written by Tom Easterby
Young midfielder Dan Barlaser has backed Accrington Stanley to keep up their fine run of form as his loan club look to break into an automatic promotion spot in League One.
The 21-year-old is on loan at the Wham Stadium until January 2019 and has made himself a regular in the Accy side in recent weeks, opening his professional account in the Checkatrade Trophy win over Macclesfield Town earlier this month.
Since linking up with John Coleman’s side alongside fellow Magpie Luke Charman in August, Barlaser has made nine appearances, helping the Lancashire outfit move up to fourth spot in the third tier.
And after an impressive start to his stint at Stanley, Barlaser says he’s enjoying life with Coleman’s side as they bid for a third successive league win at Luton Town on Tuesday night.
“The gaffer’s given me a chance and seen my ability and what I can do, and I think I’ve helped the team when I came in,” he told nufc.co.uk. “We’re forward thinking, we’ve scored a few goals, and I think with the way we’re playing now and the position in the league we’re in, a lot of teams are starting to see what we’re capable of as we’ve shown what we can do.
“If you look at what they achieved last season, and you look at how many times we’ve been beaten this season at home, I think it’s only been once. It’s not like I was going to walk into the team, because it’s a very good team. They’ve walked through League Two last season and won the league, and they’ve carried that form on.
“That’s the good thing about being here – we’re doing so well and there’s that much competition for places that everyone’s training very hard. That’s why training’s very good and we’re playing well in games. We don’t want to give our shirts away to someone else – we all want to stay in the team and do well for the team.”
Accrington – who were promoted to League One for the first time in their history at the end of last term – have a number of experienced players in their ranks, with the likes of defender Mark Hughes, midfielder Scott Brown and frontman Billy Kee forming a battle-hardened spine.
Barlaser made four appearances during a spell on loan at Crewe Alexandra in 2017/18 but appreciates the chance he’s been given to develop his game alongside Accy’s seasoned campaigners – as well as the opportunity to make a mark of his own.
“I’ve had very experienced players behind me – I’ve got Mark Hughes, whose played in the Premier League and is a very good defender, and I’ve been talking to Scott Brown a lot,” he said. “He’s been in the game a very long time, and if I’m stuck with anything positionally or for what to do in a scenario, I’ll go and talk to Scott or the gaffer and they’re always really helpful. It’s like one big family, really – we have some great characters and everyone sticks together. The best thing is that everyone’s enjoying it, so long may it continue.
“In the previous loan I learned how harsh football can be the lower you go down. I learned that football can be harsh and that when you get your chance, you need to take it. John Coleman has given me a chance because he’s seen what I can do for the team, and it’s obviously helped me a lot and hopefully the team a lot as well.”
Accrington could move into the top two with a win at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday, where Barlaser will be hoping to feature again after helping his side earn a 1-0 win at Peterborough United on Saturday.
And having registered his first senior goal in impressive style a fortnight ago, the youngster is looking to add more to his tally as Coleman’s men look to keep pace with the leaders of the League One pack.
“It was coming, because in the Fleetwood game I’d had two shot where the keeper’s made two tremendous saves – I thought they were in,” explained Barlaser. “In the Doncaster game, the ball came to me on the edge of the box and I hit it, it was going into the top corner and the keeper palmed it out. I was thinking, ‘it’s never going to happen’.
“I just thought to myself that I needed to keep going and just hit the targets low in the corners. It was very proud moment because it was my first professional goal, so it was a very good start. I’m hoping I can add some more goals this season because I’ve played quite a few league games now and seen the chances I’ve been getting and the team have been getting. Hopefully I can contribute with a couple more goals.”
Photograph courtesy of Accrington Stanley Football Club.
"We’re doing so well and there’s that much competition for places that everyone’s training very hard. That’s why training’s very good and we’re playing well in games. We don’t want to give our shirts away to someone else – we all want to stay in the team and do well for the team."