A MAN who had to be airlifed to hospital on Saturday is awake and talking, his family have confirmed.

Stephen Croft, 61, was airlifted from Oakwell to the Northern General Hospital on Saturday afternoon after suffering a cardiac arrest just before kick-off against Burton Albion.

In a statement issued by Barnsley Football Club, the family have confirmed:

"Stephen is now awake in hospital and able to talk to us. He is still poorly and there is clearly a long road to recovery ahead, but all the signs are positive. The improvement in his condition since Saturday evening has been remarkable and we would like to extend our thanks to the wonderful staff on the GICU at the Northern General.

"We would also like to reiterate our thanks to the Burton players, staff and fans, the medical staff from Barnsley and Burton, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the continued support of Barnsley Football Club and their fans.

"We are truly humbled by the messages of support and well wishes we have all received over the last few days.

"Finally, we would ask you to respect Stephen and the family's privacy through this difficult time and we will provide further updates via the team at Barnsley Football Club when appropriate."