Ashley Barnes will be out of favour with his seven-year-old son if Burnley harm Manchester City's Premier League title hopes
Ashley Barnes enjoys playing the villain - the Burnley striker has been public enemy number one more times than he can count this season.
The 29-year-old certainly left his mark at Stamford Bridge, frustrating Chelsea fans when netting the equaliser on Easter Monday before touching a nerve in a coming together with substitute Mateo Kovacic.
"You try to enjoy yourself as much as possible, and you do have to have a bit of banter," he said. "I do like to wind up the big ones that’s for sure and sometimes they fall for it, sometimes not.
"Of course I enjoy playing the villain. They’re 10 times better than you on the pitch so you’ve got to try and bring them down, or to try some tactic to get the upper hand."
But Barnes won't be flavour of the month in his own home if the Clarets dent Manchester City’s title hopes on Sunday afternoon at Turf Moor.
That’s because the former Brighton and Hove Albion forward's son, Flynn, is a huge fan of Pep Guardiola’s challengers.
Barnes confessed that his seven-year-old would rather don Raheem Sterling's name on the back of his shirt than that of his own dad, adding that he'll be given the silent treatment should he throw a spanner in the works for City.
"I probably have more Liverpool friends, but my seven-year-old son, Flynn, is a massive Man City fan," he said. "He’s not happy, he’s already said, ‘Come on Dad, serious.’
"But I said ‘Sorry son, I’ve got to do my job.’ He won’t be supporting Burnley, that’s for sure. He will be City mad.
"He will probably try to wear a City kit underneath his Burnley one. He loves all the City players, but probably Sane and Sterling are his favourites.
"As soon as I get back to see him after the game, he’ll be kicking me that’s for sure. I don’t think I’m his favourite at the moment. I’m not a favourite of his, that’s for sure and kids always tell you the truth."
Barnes's record against the so-called 'big six' in the top flight is impeccable. He's already netted against Arsenal, Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea this term, adding goals against City and Liverpool in seasons gone by.
The Clarets also boast a proud record against the defending champions. United, Leicester City and Manchester City have all been beaten by a single goal while Chelsea were beaten 3-2 on their own patch at the start of last season.
"These are the games I relish, the ones I want to be playing in," Barnes said. "As long as I train well and get selected I can’t do any more.
"I love playing against big teams especially. You just want to show what you’re capable of and hopefully I have done that, shown how good I am.
"I thrive in any game, you just try and hit the back of the net. Lucky for me a lot of my goals have come against the big teams.
"Ten of my 31 goals in the Premier League have come against the big teams. It’s a great stat for me personally."
Liverpool are certainly counting on Barnes to turn the title race in their favour. Thousands of Reds switched their avatars on Twitter to that of Burnley's number 10 midweek, hoping he can be the man to help bring the trophy home to Anfield for the first time in nearly three decades.
"It’s part and parcel of the job, a bit of a crack from their point of view," said Barnes. "I take it in my stride and have to do my talking on the pitch. I’ve had a few text messages yesterday from Liverpool fans making a joke of it but it’s all good.
"It would mean everything. Klopp has even given me a sly text to say if I score, he might sign me for next season, so I might be on the move!
"But look, for something so silly, it would be a massive thing if I was to score and we were to win. All of us would probably go down in Liverpool history if we helped them out."