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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Barrow's Welsh scrapper aiming to silence barrackers

BARROW AFC’s resident ankle-biter James Owen is relishing the prospect of snapping at Wrexham’s heels – and silencing any abuse he receives from his fellow countrymen.

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CENTURY MAKER James Owen will play his 100th game for Barrow tonight, if the midfielder is selected against Wrexham Dan Westwell

Caernarfon-born Owen represented Wales up to under-17s level and went on trial at Wrexham after leaving their fierce rivals from across the English/Welsh border, Chester City, in early 2010.

However, Bluebirds boss Dave Bayliss swooped to sign the midfielder who is determined to help Barrow emulate the 3-1 home win they achieved over the table-toppers in last season’s corresponding fixture.

“I think anybody can beat any other team in this league, and we beat Luton at home a couple of weeks ago, so you never know what will happen,” said 22-year-old Owen ahead of tonight’s Holker Street clash (7.45pm) in which he is set to make his 100th appearance for Barrow.

“I like playing against Wrexham because I’m Welsh, so it will be a good test. We beat them last year at our place so, hopefully we can do it again.

“I went on trial at Wrexham but nothing was going to happen, I just went there to keep myself fit after I left Chester. And then Bayles gave me a phone call and I’ve never really looked back.”

Owen admits that playing against a side from his country of birth does take on extra significance for himself and the other members of Barrow’s Welsh contingent – Bangor-born brothers Mike and Shaun Pearson.

“That’s especially the case at their place, but when they come up to our place you can still hear their fans giving me abuse, and I think to myself, ‘I’ve never even played for you!’,” added Owen.

“But I think I get it because I played for Chester. It gets me more at it, as it does Shaun and Mike, but all the lads like playing against the top teams.

“On Saturday, we played at a big club in Lincoln, and in a massive stadium, so we raised our game and wanted to play good football on a nice pitch. We did really well and hopefully we can do the same tonight.”

Owen was delighted to earn an instant recall to Barrow’s starting line-up before Saturday’s encouraging goalless draw at Lincoln – a game witnessed by a 1,830 crowd – after returning from a two-game ban. The path towards his selection was effectively cleared when 16-goal striker Adam Boyes was forced to cry off with a calf injury. With Bayliss switching from a 4-4-2 formation, to 4-5-1, the combative Owen was drafted in to offer defensive support to fellow central midfielders Alex-Ray Harvey and Richie Baker.

And with Boyes closing in on his own return, Owen knows he faces a fight to retain his place over the coming weeks.

“You always need competition for places because if you haven’t got that, you can take your foot off the gas,” said Owen.

“If we play 4-4-2, we’ve got Alex, Richie and myself available so there’s always competition and you don’t want to be the one that gets dropped.

“Boyesy is our top goalscorer so he’s going to come back into the team so you never know, it (the midfield selection) may come down to who trains the best before the game!

“I don’t think I’m a nice and tidy footballer, so if I play, I think Bayles wants me in there to do my job which is to tackle, get the ball down and pass it nice and simple. Then I get someone beside me, like Richie and Alex, who can pass the ball because they are brilliant in possession.”

Have your say

Is that rats I hear scratching,or is it those hiding in the dark,scratching pens on paper, to rubbish BARROW AFC? Must work on those last few minutes of any match.Well played AFC,Owen,DB and fans.Good game,good football, good for football.Good stuff,staying up.

Posted by captain bluebirdseye on 26 February 2013 at 23:33

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