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Lawrence bullish at Barnsley


Liam Lawrence. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Liam Lawrence. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Liam Lawrence. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

FORMER Ireland international Liam Lawrence has swapped a glamour European clash with Benfica for a relegation dogfight with Barnsley, but the 32-year-old says he is up for the challenge of keeping his new club in the Championship.

Earlier this week, former Portsmouth and Stoke man Lawrence severed his ties with Greek side PAOK, even though the Thessalonika outfit are having a good season, currently second in the Greek league and with a Europa League clash with Benfica next month. But he was pleased to move back to England by agreeing a deal with relegation-threatened Barnsley.

"It's going to be a good experience. Hopefully I can bring something to the team that will help us survive this year," he says.

"I missed the football here when I left for Greece and I'm looking forward to getting back into the thick of it. I watched the Championship in Greece on Sky and it gave me fire in my belly again to come back. I've had good experiences here with other teams, I just hope I can have that with Barnsley."

Boss Danny Wilson could throw Lawrence into action right away despite his lack of match fitness.



"Some of the players, with all due respect, for the talent they've got need leaders on the pitch", said Wilson. "Liam's not match-fit. He's had a few training sessions with us. But he's a fit lad and he's experienced and it won't take him long to get up to speed.

"We'll look at him and if he doesn't react to anything we might include him. He can play anywhere. Behind the front two or one or either side of the pitch."