By Tony Leighton
Yeovil Town midfielder Ed Upson will be aiming to add another crucial goal or two to his significantly growing tally as the Glovers look to win their vital Sky Bet Championship relegation zone clash with Barnsley on Saturday.
Goals in big games by Upson have this year not only helped Yeovil rise to Championship level for the first time in the club's history, but also to begin making their mark as they bid to maintain their hard-won status.
The former Ipswich Town player, signed by the Glovers in 2010, hit the victory clincher in the second leg of last season's Play-Off semi-final against Sheffield United, thus paving the way for the Wembley Final win against Brentford.
Upson then scored the club's historic first Championship goal to secure a 1-0 victory at Millwall on the opening day of the current campaign. And in October he scored twice as the Glovers claimed their first Championship home win, a 3-1 success against promotion contenders Nottingham Forest.
That lifted them off the bottom of the table and now, after two wins and a draw in their last three matches - easily their best run of the season - they are just two points below the safety places as they prepare to visit rock-bottom Barnsley.
As he looked ahead to the six-pointer at Oakwell, Upson - whose goals this term have also helped earn precious points in draws against Birmingham City and Bolton Wanderers - told football-league.co.uk: "It's always nice to score goals, and it's extra special if they come at key moments in important games.
"It was great to get the Play-Off semi-final winner and then to make a bit of history in the club's first Championship game. But the most important thing in the game at Millwall was the team's performance on a massive occasion for us.
"Even if we'd drawn we could have been proud of ourselves for the way we'd played in our first match in the higher division, and after the game there was a really positive feeling among the lads that we could hold our place.
"Things didn't go our way for a while after that, mainly because we weren't getting the goals to go with some decent play. But we stayed positive, and that's become our word of the season - and we'll stay positive.
"We're certainly feeling that way after our last three results and we should go to Barnsley feeling confident that we can keep the run going, even though we know that like every other game we'll have this season it will be very difficult."
The Glovers certainly should be feeling confident after wins against Watford and Blackpool, who like Forest are both promotion contenders, followed by a 2-2 draw with Charlton Athletic after being two goals behind at half-time.
"It's great to beat the top teams," said Upson, "but in a sense it's more important to take three points off the teams around us. Our manager [Gary Johnson] says we're in a mini-league in the bottom half of the table and he's right - and if we can win that mini-league we'll still be in the Championship next season."
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