Bree looking forward to making a first Oakwell return

James Breen in action against Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night
James Breen in action against Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night

Town’s on-loan defender James Bree is relishing his first visit back to Barnsley after leaving the club two years ago.

The 21-year-old came through the ranks at Oakwell, becoming the club’s second youngest debutant, in May 2014 when just a 16-year-old.

He then played 61 times in total, moving to Aston Villa in January 2017 for an undisclosed fee, described at the time as ‘substantial.’

After joining the Hatters on a season-long deal from Villa recently, Bree is now expected to start against his former side, with Martin Cranie unlikely to feature due to his injury picked up at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night.

Bree said: “If I play, it will be the first time I’ve gone back to Oakwell and played since I left, three or four years ago.

“Barnsley is a big club for for me, it brings back good memories for me and I’m looking forward to going back there.

“I was the second youngest, think Reuben (Noble-Lazarus) has got the record for 15 years and 50 days that hasn’t been broken.

“But it brings back great memories. I loved my time there, loved coming through as an academy player and wish them all the best this season.”

Bree is hoping that he will be afforded a good reception at his old stomping ground, as he continued: “I hope so. I haven’t really been back over the last couple of years, so I’m not sure how it will be now, but I hope they treat me lightly.

“I think some members of staff have been there for quite a while.

“I know that Sedgey (Craig Sedgwick) the physio has been there for ages and there are a couple of lads that I was scholars with who have just started breaking into the team, but the bulk of the team from when I was there have pretty much moved on now.”

With both sides winning promotion from League One last term, Town as champions, then Bree feels it’s a game his new side can target for a first victory of the campaign.

The Hatters go into the contest in 22nd place, with the Tykes just two positions higher, as he added: “I think these are the games that you need to be looking and thinking, can we take three points from them?

“Obviously Barnsley are a good team and you know what they’re about,

“I’ve seen them play a lot last season, I’ve seen a couple of games this season, they play some good football.

“Looking at the teams in the league, you look at Barnsley and think it would be a good opportunity to get three points on the board.”