Barnsley: Nathan Doyle interview

Barnsley's Nathan Doyle saw in his 24th birthday on Wednesday – but you can forget any early signs of ageing.

The midfielder is thriving at the Tykes under boss Mark Robins, stressing he actually feels a year younger and not 12 months older!

Doyle had endured a frustrating career until his move to Barnsley – the 5ft 11in ace failing to hold down first team spots at either first club Derby County or his next port of call – yesterday's opponents Hull.

The abundant promise illustrated by England under-20s experience was instead highlighted during loan moves to Notts County, Bradford and Barnsley where the Derby-born player eventually signed permanent in January last year.

It has been a career changing move. Doyle has been a regular member of the Tykes starting side ever since and he refused to derailed by an unwanted off the field disturbance last November when he and two others were arrested on suspicion of possessing cocaine.

The Reds ace was soon cleared of any wrong-doing and back where he belonged - in Barnsley's first team.

There he has stayed since and Doyle admits to feeling on the crest of the wave at Oakwell in the week of his 24th birthday.

"That's 24 now but I just feel a year younger to be honest," Doyle told Yorkshire Sport this week.

"I feel settled here and it's nice to know that you've got a manager that wants you and wants you to play for the team week-in, week-out.

"But it's also nice to have a group of lads where they have all been very welcoming. It's just been nice.

"To be playing week-in, week-out for the team is a bonus.

"It's been disappointing at all the other clubs I've been at and it's only been at Notts County and Bradford, where I went out on loan, that I really played," he said.

"But with Barnsley, as with any player, it's always better when you are playing week-in, week-out.

"You want to be playing football and to be doing that you feel good inside knowing that you are going to be involved every week and that you are wanted. It's good."

Key to Doyle's progress at Oakwell has been the influence of manager Robins who first brought the Hull player in on loan back in September 2009.

The move was made permanent just four months later and Robins stood firmly by his man during the November's worrying off-field headlines.

For that, and his support in general, Doyle is grateful – though the Reds ace says Barnsley's coaching staff, as a group, are all of the same ilk.

"The gaffer has been great," said Doyle. "He's always supported me with everything that comes from the start and if there's anything wrong that I've had he's always been there.

"He's approachable, and you can talk to him as with any of the staff there – John Breckin, Nick Dawson, Steve Taylor.

"Everyone at the football club has been fantastic with me and long may it continue."

Doyle was temporarily out of the side last November but insists he would never be one to sulk.

"It's never nice when you're not playing and obviously I was

disappointed not to be," he added.

"But you've just got to work hard in training and stuff and in the gym

to try and get the best out of yourself.

"You're need to keep yourself good for when you are needed."

Doyle is certainly very much needed at present and a key cog in the

Tykes outfit that sat just six points off the play-offs and eight clear of the dropzone heading into yesterday's clash with Hull.

Barnsley's recent birthday boy feels his team are thriving – further enhancing his own happiness though the Tykes star is refusing to set any illustrious targets in fear that such dreaming could jinx and then derail the Reds.

"I think it's been going well for me personally, but as a team I think

we have also put in better performances than last season," he said.

"It's nice that we are doing so well.The gaffer has brought in new players, he is doing his stuff in training and the coaching staff have been doing their bit. It's all been good."

Assessing Barnsley's play-off prospects or otherwise he added: "I'm not really looking towards the end of the season really.

"I'm just taking it one game at a time and towards the end of the season is when we'll start looking at where we want to finish.

"All the lads, one to 11, are just taking it one game at a time.

"Obviously it was disappointing to get knocked out of the cup, but we've had some good results this last year so hopefully we can crack on in the league and do well.

"At the minute I am just taking it one game at a time and I can't look too far into the future.

"You never know what's going to happen in football so I'm just taking one game at a time, playing my games, enjoying my football and playing with a smile on my face.

"I just want to help Barnsley Football Club to go as far as they can."

All very much well in the world of Doyle right now then and his next assignment will be trying to help the Tykes attempt to overcome the challenge of visiting Swansea next weekend.

Doyle is now a year older and year wiser – not that he feels it – and the midfielder's current good fortune even presented itself on his birthday itself when a day's training was not required!

"I just spent it with the family and it was nice to have a bit of family time to be honest," said Doyle of his 24th.

"We had the day of which was even better!"

Graphic: Graeme Bandeira

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