Despite an unfortunate sequence of own goals, central defender Angus MacDonald has impressed Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom so much in his first season with the Oakwell Club that he has signed a new two-year contract.
Since signing from National League side Torquay United last summer, the 24-year-old has been been a regular for the Reds with 30 Championship appearances to his credit.
Six feet three inches tall, MacDonald (pictured in action) scored his first goal for the Reds in an FA Cup Third Round Replay against Blackpool in January.
He has also had the misfortune to put the ball into the back of his own net on three occasions – at Sheffield Wednesday in December, at QPR earlier this month and again at Norwich City last Saturday.
That, however, has not changed Heckingbottom’s high opinion of him.
Said the head coach: “Angus has been fantastic all season and he hasn’t made many mistakes.
“When he first joined the club last summer he was challenged to prove that he has what it takes to make the step up and play regularly in the Championship. He has certainly done that and he is now demonstrating week in, week out, that he belongs at this level.
“Angus has worked exceptionally hard to cement his place in the team and his performances have played a big role in our success this season.
“I’m delighted that he’s committed himself to this Football Club; it’s a huge boost as we continue to put plans in place for the future.
“Angus is a fantastic person to have at the Club, both for his football and personal qualities,” Heckingbottom continued. ” You only have to look at the way he has got involved with the community and his charity work to see that he’s a great role model to have at the Club and someone who has a strong connection with our fans.
“I now look forward to working with Angus and developing his game further over the coming years.”
Speaking exclusively to www.barnsleyfc.co.uk MacDonald responded by saying: “I’m over the moon and I’m very thankful to the Club for rewarding me with this new contract.
“When I first joined in the summer my targets were to work hard and hopefully break into the first team, so to be stood here today with 30 Championship appearances to my name is a dream come true.
“I am very grateful to Hecky and the coaching staff who have dedicated a lot of time to me over the past six months and have helped to develop my game and improve key areas.
He went on: “I’m loving it here. I live locally and it’s a fantastic place to be; very friendly and it suits me perfectly.
“There was no hesitation when the opportunity came along to sign a longer term deal. The fans have been absolutely brilliant with me, even though I’m a southerner! I’ll be giving everything for this Football Club to ensure that we finish as high up the league table and possible and then we can look forward to even more success next season.
“It has been a superb season; it’s a very positive environment to be in as a footballer and it feels like we are building something special. We have a very ambitious and hungry squad, and I’m proud to be part of what’s happening here at Barnsley Football Club.”