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First team

Pearson impressed by Tykes run


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Ben Pearson is hoping AFC Bournemouth can mirror his former club Barnsley’s recent run as they look to maintain their push for an immediate return to the Premier League.

Pearson enjoyed two successful loan spells at Oakwell during his time with Manchester United and played his part in the Tykes’ promotion to the Championship in 2015/16.

He was handed his Football League debut by the south Yorkshire club in January 2015 and netted twice in all competitions as they won the play-offs the following season.

Midfielder Pearson made a total of 51 appearances across the two loans for Barnsley before sealing a move to Preston North End in January 2016.

The Tykes will be bidding to extend to 11 matches their unbeaten league run when they face the Cherries at Vitality Stadium on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Since losing 4-0 against the Cherries in December – a win which took the Dorset club to the top of the table – Barnsley have taken 39 points from a possible 57 and have climbed from 15th to sixth.

Barnsley’s 0-0 draw with Derby at Oakwell on Wednesday brought to an end a club record sequence of seven successive wins in the second tier.

Pearson told afcb.co.uk: “Winning seven games on the bounce is remarkable. It’s an achievement for any team, never mind Barnsley who were struggling at the start of the season.

“They’ve done superbly well. I’ve watched a few of their games and thought how tough they are to play against.

“They are quite aggressive and the intensity they play at is high. Playing against them is not an easy game or a pretty game.

“There’s a lot of turning over the ball, playing percentage football and putting you under pressure.

“It’s nice to see where they are compared to when I first went there back in the League One days when they were struggling.

“We need to try to get a run of wins together. We’re on a little unbeaten run but need to turn some of those draws into wins.

“If you look at the Championship over the past couple of years, there is always a team which goes on a run towards the end of the season and peaks at the right time. We need to make sure it’s us this season.”

Discussing his two loan spells with the Tykes, Pearson added: “The first loan was an initial one month and I went there to experience men’s football and get going.

“I went on the Friday and started on the Saturday. We won 2-0 against Yeovil and I got man of the match so it was a good start.

“A couple of weeks later, I scored my first goal and the loan was extended until the end of the season.

“Danny Wilson was the manager at the time. When I went there, they were struggling near the bottom three and had a lot of older players.

“It was a good experience to be in that environment at the time. We picked up a bit and I did well for the six months I was there.

“It came to the summer and I had a couple of options to go on loan elsewhere, a couple in the Championship, with Preston being one of them.

“But because I enjoyed Barnsley so much, I stayed. Lee Johnson had come in as manager and I knew him.

“I knew I would play and enjoyed the lads so I decided to do another six months in League One rather than step up just to get another 30 or 40 games under my belt. It was great to play a part in their promotion.”

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