From Paul Fletcher Blog BBC

Barnsley defender Darren Moore has been promoted to the Premier League four times in his career - twice with West Brom and once with both Bradford and Derby.

I can't think of anybody who has gone up more often to the top flight - certainly not in recent times - so when he starts talking about what it takes for a team to reach the supposed Promised Land it probably makes sense to listen.

And with this in mind, there is one undoubted buzz word that crops up time and again during a conversation with the giant defender - consistency. For example, Moore is adamant that the current Barnsley squad is as good as most of the teams he has been promoted with - but talk is cheap.

"It is about showing that consistently and doing the right things at the right time," Moore told me.

And if you think that Big Dave, as he was known at West Brom, has lost it by suggesting the Tykes, currently 14th in the Championship, are in with a shout then perhaps you should think again.

"Anything is possible in the Championship," argues Moore. "I say that because this time last year Hull were in a similar position to where Barnsley are at the moment and look where they are now."

Moore believes that his point applies to most clubs in the Championship - a third of the season might have come and gone but very few sides are totally out of the running. Barnsley, for example, might be nestled in mid-table but prior to Tuesday evening's round of fixtures they were only four points off the play-off zone. Teams that guard against thinking too far ahead, put a run of form together and feed off the self-belief that good results generate are in with a chance.

Barnsley lost five of their opening six Championship fixtures and twice propped up the table.

Rumours started to circulate about the future of manager Simon Davey.

But Moore, who joined Barnsley from Derby in the summer, has seen it all before and impressed on his team-mates that there was no need to panic. He told them that it often takes 10 games or so for the new signings to slot in to the team and adjust to the style of play that the manager wants both home and away.

That period has passed now and Barnsley are on a run of form that has seen them win three and draw one of their last five games. Moore is now looking for the team to see how many points they can pick up before the busy Christmas period.

If Barnsley are still in good shape he will then impress upon his team-mates how important it is for them to hold their form - that word consistency might crop up again - until Easter. By that stage the season has reached the run-in and it is all about holding your nerve until the finish line.

But in a division where fortunes rise and fall so spectacularly how does a manager ensure his team are playing to their potential?

"All of the managers I have been promoted with have been different and there is no single right way," Moore told me. "But one thing that was evident was the discipline side of things in terms of every player knowing their jobs within the team."

Paul Jewell (Bradford 1999), Gary Megson (West Brom 2002 and 2004) and Billy Davies (Derby County 2007) are the men that have managed Moore to promotion. And the Birmingham-born defender reckons that only second time around at the Baggies was he a part of a team that had actually been expected to go up.

Moore thinks his current manager is every bit as good as those he has worked with in the past. Davey, in charge at Oakwell since November 2006, has impressed Moore with his enthusiasm, focus and methods.

The defender points to a training session they use at Barnsley as a good example of Davey's methods. It starts as a keep-ball routine with two-to-three players on each team. This then builds to five or six per side and ends in an eight versus eight game, often followed by Davey working through a phase of play. Moore likes the progression, the way a simple idea is expanded until it involves working on something that will be taken into a real game.

Moore comes across in conversation as someone who loves being a professional footballer, maintaining that he is living a dream that he has had ever since watching Cyril Regis, Laurie Cunningham and Brendon Batson play for West Brom in the late 1970s.

Yet there is no ego involved in what Moore has achieved as a footballer. Moore, a devout Christian, spends a large amount of his spare time working with those less fortunate than himself. His charity Faith and Football runs mini-leagues in inner cities and poor suburbs. When I spoke to Moore he was driving down to Birmingham so he could attend a night of matches. "It uses football as a vehicle to get kids from different schools and areas together and build relationships," he said.

Every year he undertakes a major fund-raising event to raise money for his charity. In 2005 he walked along the Great Wall of China along with Linvoy Primus, another player heavily involved in Faith and Football. Moore has also been to India, Egypt and Mexico and undertaken a charity bike ride. In February he will sit down and work out what he will do next summer.

In addition to playing for Barnsley and his charity work, Moore is also on the Board of Professional Footballers' Association Members and a committed family man. It makes me wonder how he manages to squeeze so much into one day and Moore himself admits it is "pretty full on".

Yet Davey recently described him as the most focused player he has worked with. And when it comes to working your way up the Championship table there can be few better players to have on your side than a man looking for his fifth promotion.
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Ian Wilkinson

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