Suddenly it's got busy for Barrows!
- Credit: Ian Burt
A smile is never usually far from the face of Ross Barrows - and after weeks of inactivity on the frontline it is back with a vengeance.
The Linnets defender was one of the many who ended up on furlough as the club plotted its way through the financial minefield of playing games behind closed doors.
But the 23-year-old made a surprise return for the game against Wrexham seven days ago and, having scored against Solihull Moors on Tuesday, looks set to make his third appearance in a week when the Linnets conclude their season against Aldershot.
It’s a far cry from ‘furlough football’ - especially with fans set to return for the second time this week.
“I have never experienced anything like it, to go so long without fans and to be able to score the first goal back in front of the fans... as soon as it went in, I flicked it and just saw it bounce in the corner and just heard the roar and I just kept running and running,” he said.
“It was an unbelievable feeling. It has been such a tough year for everyone, especially personally, and things like that, so much off the pitch that I have struggled with so to come back, the first home game back and to score in front of the fans it is just an unbelievable feeling.”
Barrows admits the call from manager Ian Culverhouse came out of the blue.
“I’ve been buzzing to be back and kind of hoping that the gaffer would give me a call and ask me to come back in,” he added. “I went to watch the lads at Chesterfield on the Tuesday night and spoke to the gaffer there and to see how everybody was and I went to the Stockport game as well and I have kind of kept in touch with everyone and then when the gaffer dropped me a message about coming in that was a great feeling to be fair.
“I was nervous but it was a great feeling.”
For Barrows, the watching brief as the team changed identity wasn’t easy.
“Obviously we see it on social media about players coming in and we see the situation that is happening and it is horrible to see, because we see the results and we see the lads struggling but we can’t do anything and we want to come in and help the lads but we just know we can’t,” he said.
“To be fair, it got to a certain point where you are thinking that there is only a certain amount of games left and I didn’t really think that I would be coming back in so I was just thinking about next season really and then I got the text and thought, ‘Oh, here we go, get ready and get my head on’.”
Barrows took his goal expertly, but there was a bit of good fortune in that the game was a rearranged fixture following a weather postponement.
“I maybe could have had one more to be fair,” he said.
“I think they are strong on set-pieces and this league is all about set-pieces and that is why we have been down there this year - we haven’t been good enough for them defending wise and probably not scored enough of them, but I think to get one has been good.
“I can’t wait (for Saturday). It is going to be a tough one on the body but I am absolutely buzzing, I can’t wait, I am so glad this one got cancelled and got rearranged and it is great for the chairman to be able to get two games with fans in.
“The fans have waited for so long, it has been a tough season for them and we have missed them massively, the past couple of years they have driven us on and we have picked up points.
“You look back here at Torquay earlier in the year, just before Christmas time, and they were top of the league at the time, flying, and we picked up a great point against them with the fans in and they really do drive us on.”
It’s understandable why Barrows has a cup final feeling about the last game of the season.
“We just want to really end on a high,” he said.
“There has been a lot of disappointment and things like that so it is important that we end on a high, get the fans in, hopefully we can get as many down as possible and fill it out and come down and keep cheering us on because we do need it and it makes a massive, massive difference and we really do appreciate it.”
And a goal perhaps?
“Fingers crossed, hopefully - it is the first in the league this year,” he said. “I don’t really score headers. When the gaffer puts the set-pieces on the board I am at full-back – he never puts me up there!”