Barnsley: Ambitious Winnall calls on Reds to gatecrash top-six

Sam Winnall.
Sam Winnall.
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Confident striker Sam Winnall has stressed Barnsley will do everything they can to break into the play-off positions.

Five successive league wins – and five successive cleansheets – has catapulted the previously troubled Reds up to seventh in the table.

And with 11 league fixtures remaining the resurgent South Yorkshire outfit have given themselves a great opportunity to be, arguably, the surprise-package of League One having such a frustrating campaign until a month ago.

“The biggest thing we need to do now is to maintain our level of performance,” said Winnall. “If we do, then who knows where we’ll end up?

“But we’re a positive bunch, we believe in ourselves and we believe we should be in the top six. So we’ll do everything we can to get there.

“The play-offs are a realistic possibility, but we’ve still got to take it game-by-game.

“I think we’d be silly to get carried away right now because there’s still a long way to go.”

Amazingly Winnall is still the Reds’ second leading scorer – two goals behinfg midfielder Conor Hourihane - even though he has been sidelined for three months with a troublesome hamstring injury.

But the former Scunthorpe United hitman made a fourth brief substitute appearance as a second half substitute in Saturday’s impressive 3-0 home win over Walsall.

And the 24-year-old made his mark with his first goal since 14 November – and took his tally to 10 goals for the season.

“It’s been a frustrating three months for me, so Saturday’s goal was very special to me,” admitted Winnall. “To score a goal in front of the home fans was very special.

“It’s not been easy, it has been difficult.”

Meanwhile, Manchester United midfielder Ben Pearson has signed a loan extension with the club until the end of the season.

The 20-year-old has impressed in two initial one-month loan spells at Oakwell, making 12 appearances for the Reds.