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Friday, 24 October 2014

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WELCOME BLACK

HOME COMFORTS: Ryan-Zico Black won’t have far to travel to face Lancaster on MondaySHEENAH ALCOCK REF: 0368143

RYAN-ZICO Black is relishing his return to Lancaster City on Monday — just a month after leaving the Dolly Blues to join Barrow AFC.

The 25-year-old striker, who still lives in Lancaster, was quickly snapped up by longtime admirer Phil Wilson after being released by financially-troubled City.

The former Northern Ireland under-21 international has made a bright start at Holker Street, and prior to today’s Cumbrian derby at Workington had netted three times in his first six games, including one against Lancaster in the 3-0 Boxing Day victory.

However, it has not all been a bed of roses for Black, who 10 days ago was sent off early in the FA Trophy defeat to Worcester City for swinging an arm at Dennis Pearce.

The FA this week handed the Guernsey-born frontman a three-match ban, which comes into effect after Monday’s game.

“I’m really enjoying it at Barrow, it’s a great club,” said Black, who is contracted until the end of the season.

“It’s going to be a big game at Lancaster. It’s not easy going back to your old club but I’m really looking forward to it.”

He added: “I was disappointed in myself with the sending off. I got caught a few times and was a little bit aggrieved at not getting anything. Basically, I lashed out. It’s just one of those things, I shouldn’t have done it, but it happens.

“I felt bad because I let down my team-mates, but hopefully my goal against Lancaster and some more over the New Year period will make up for it in a little way.”

Black, who started his career with Morecambe and later had a spell under Paul Gascoigne at Kettering, is one of 12 players in the AFC first team squad to have played for Lancaster in the past few seasons. But the striker doesn’t feel this gives Barrow an advantage.

“I don’t think it makes that much difference really. I think everyone knows what to expect and we know we can’t take Lancaster lightly.

“We’ve got to show them respect, match them in effort and enthusiasm and hopefully our extra bit of quality will shine through.”

Despite playing out on the wing during his career, Black admits his favoured position is up front down the middle.

In recent weeks he has formed a good understanding with on-loan top scorer Tom Pope, but with the Crewe man heading back to Gresty Road after today’s game, Black will have a different face alongside him in attack on Monday.

“Losing Popey is definitely going to be a blow because he’s a quality player,” said Black.

“He’s the type of player I like to play with, a bigger player I can play off.

“But we have good players in Alex Taylor, Nick Rogan and Paul Brown to come in. Obviously they’re different types of players to Popey, but we’ll have to go with that and see what happens.”

Going into today’s game Barrow still sat in the relegation zone, and Black admits the team have underachieved so far this season, saying: “We have a good squad that has underachieved so far, but hopefully now we are turning it round. If you compare this squad to others in the league we should be in the top half at least.”

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