Barnsley: Depleted Reds gear up for derby test

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
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Boss Lee Johnson has revealed his squad are down to the “bare bones” ahead of their final two games of the season.

The Reds take on Bradford City this afternoon at Valley Parade looking for their first win for nine games.

And then it’s a home clash with Rochdale, managed by former boss Keith Hill, to finish the season next Saturday.

“We’re desperate to finish the season on a high note and, against two good sides [Bradford and Rochdale] you want to play your best team,” said Johnson. “It’s a fine line between playing your best players, some of whom have niggles, and the younger players.

“But you also want to give everybody an opportunity to impress, so you’re dammed if you do and you’re dammed if you don’t.

“We are down to the bare bones so the squad that will be involved will be the best available squad. It’s a chance for some of the young lads and the other players to impress because you don’t get many chances to impress in football. This is another chance for another couple to produce.”

Star striker Sam Winnall is likely to be rested for the Reds’ clash with the Bantams, while Johnson is continuing to talk to players about new contracts and will release a list of the players who are going to be retained at the end of the season.

“We’ve still got a couple of players to talk too, but we’re only going to release the retained list at the end of the season,” admitted Johnson.”

“Generally we know where we want to go, although there is always movement to change your mind sometimes. But the main thing now is to be ready to swoop for new players when they become available.”

Loan striker George Waring is understood to have been offered a new contract by his parent club Stoke City, although Johnson is still interested in the player whether it be on a permanent or on a loan deal.