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Darren's Double

By: Tony Hamilton
Date: 31/07/2003

DARREN Barnard is aiming for an ambitious double for the end of the forthcoming season. He has set himself two targets: one is to help Grimsby Town back to Division One, the second is to win a place in the Wales squad for the European Championship in Portugal next summer.

The 31-year old utility player looks ready for a regular spot in the Mariners line up now Tony Gallimore has departed and Barnard is determined to prove himself after spending most of last season on the treatment table.

Talking to the Grimsby Telegraph he said: "I'm enjoying it and I haven't missed a training session yet -Touch wood."

"Gally was playing left back most of last season and I was playing left midfield-but my ideal position is left back!!"

"Every time I played for Town and did well, I got injured in the next match. That's never happened in my career before"

"Without a doubt I'm more determined. We've gone down to Division Two but we has a nucleus of a First Division squad"

"I want to prove to the people here, the fans and the manager that I am an international player, and it's down to me now to prove that"

"I am confident in my own ability and hopefully people will see that this season"

Barnard is hoping a good season with Town and himself will propel him into Mark Hughes final squad of 22 for Portugal next summer

"In the summer its promotion with Grimsby Town and a place in the Welsh squad for Euro 2004.That would round of the season nicely"

"That's the aim. The big problem is I'm playing in Division Two. That might affect Mark Hughes thinking more that anything"

"He's picked Second Division players before because he doesn't have the biggest squad to choose from"

"Mark knows what I can do and what I'm capable of at that level. It would be fantastic to get into that final squad of 22 players"

Wales are dead certs to make the Euro Championships being top of their qualifying group and if Barnard makes that squad with 19 caps is likely to hang his boots up for Wales

"I'm 31 and I'd have to think long and hard after next summer if I wanted to carry on playing for Wales"

"It's a honour to play for Wales and it's a great experience, but I am at the stage where I've got to consider my young family now and it's the travelling that's gets to you"

"I'm out of contract in the summer and I've got to earn a new playing contract its down to me to earn that"

Tony Hamilton says:

Why didn't he jump ship with Danny Coyne using Wales as an excuse but it proves after reading this piece that Coyne used Wales to get away from Town and Barnard being more of a man is staying and fighting for his place in ours and Wales's squad!!

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