Matchwinner Dawson reserves praise for beaten Barnsley boss Flitcroft
MAN of the moment Craig Dawson paid tribute to Barnsley boss David Flitcroft moments after his opportunistic strike had sunk the brave Tykes at Oakwell.
Wanderers’ on-loan defender was a man in demand at the final whistle – flanked on all sides by press wanting his view on the latest of his four goals in three games.
But Flitcroft, too, was waiting for a chance to chat with the England Under-21 star, not least to bag himself a signed shirt for his office wall.
You could argue that is the least he deserves after setting Dawson on his way in professional football, snapping him up from non-league with Radcliffe Borough as a teenager as part of Keith Hill’s management team at Rochdale.
And the 22-year-old has backed Flitcroft to lead Barnsley to safety this season after witnessing first hand the battling qualities he has instilled in the Yorkshiremen.
“I owe a lot to him,” he said. “He gave me a chance to play professional football and he worked hours after training developing me. He's a top guy so I owe him a big thank you.
“I wish him all the best here. He has the personality and knows how to get people up for the game. He is a great manager.
“We knew they would have great team spirit because Flickers in a great manager. That showed with their comeback. We knew we were in a battle.
“We were disappointed to concede two goals but we showed great determination to keep in the game and snatch a winner.”
When Dougie Freedman brought Dawson in from West Brom he could probably have expected to see some defensive improvement in his side. A more unexpected benefit has been the goal threat he has carried, and though it has come at a cost, the defender hopes his streak has not yet dried up.
“Pretty much everyone has been giving me grief since I have been here,” he smiled. “But it’s nice, I hope it continues.
“It’s always nice to pop up with a goal. It’s just a case of being in the right place at the right time.
“It isn’t something I train on or work on, you just have to keep calm.”
Even though Dawson’s arrival seemed to trigger a late play-off charge, the defender will not be able to feature in any end-of-season showpiece games because his loan from West Brom expires on April 27.
The youngster is not giving a thought to the future, however, and is trying to focus on maintaining some momentum into tomorrow night’s derby against Blackburn Rovers.
“We’re in good form and I hope it continues on Tuesday night,” he said.
“I just think all the hard work we’ve put in on the training ground is paying off. There is a great team spirit and everyone is digging deep and fighting for the performance.
“There is great belief that what we are doing on the training pitch is the right thing.
“We have some great quality in the side and some top players.”