Barnsley: Double boost for Mellon ahead of Clarets clash

Reds Marcus Pedersen celebrates his first half goal against Sheffield Wednesday
Reds Marcus Pedersen celebrates his first half goal against Sheffield Wednesday
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Barnsley have been handed a welcome double boost ahead of tomorrow’s crunch clash with Championship high-fliers Burnley.

Leading scorer Chris O’Grady and Norway international loan hitman Marcus Pedersen have both been passed fit to feature against the Clarets this weekend.

And Reds caretaker boss Micky Mellon is quietly confident the struggling South Yorkshire outfit can build on Tuesday night’s much-needed 2-1 away win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

“Marcus Pedersen and Chris O’Grady have both trained, so that’s a huge boost getting two absolute quality players back,” revealed Mellon. “You can’t have too many good players available for selection. We’re delighted with that. Touch wood and cross our fingers that they’re not going to have any reaction to their injuries [before Saturday], but we’re looking okay at the minute.’

“We’re delighted everybody is going to be fit and available for selection.”

Victory at the Amex Stadium in midweek was the Reds’ first away win since February and ended a run of 16 games without a victory on the road.

But the task for Mellon and his players doesn’t get any easier against a Clarets side who were topping the table earlier in the season after an 11-game unbeaten run in all competitions.

However, the Lancashire club have fallen off the pace in recent weeks and not won in their last six matches.

Mellon said: “It’s obviously a difficult time for the football club after what happened on Saturday [when David Flitcroft was sacked], but we’ve just tried to keep everything calm and not really change to much too the routine.

“The players have responded to that. I’ve just asked them to play with a smile on their face and enjoy their football. They like that.

“I just wanted to take the shackles off the players on Tuesday night and them [the players] to show how good fooballers they are. And they did that with abundance.

“We wanted to make a statement to the footballing world to say that ‘we’re not dead, we’re still here!’

“We’re willing to fight for every point that is available to us. We’re keen to stick by that mantra.”

Young striker Danny Rose (ankle) and keeper Luke Steele (back) remain sidelined through injury, but the Reds are glad to have experienced centre-back Peter Ramage back in the fold.

The Crystal Palace loan defender had not played since the start of October but played a key role in the club’s win over the Seagulls.

But Mellon stressed: “I won’t let the players or myself slip into any kind of place where they think they’ve achieved anything

“There’s something to build on now, we’re still got a lot to do and I’ll be all over the players between now and kick-off at Burnley to let them know they’ve set the standard, but it’s important to keep those standards. Otherwise it’s not good enough.

“They’ll be a certain amount of calmness around the players because we know what we need to do from our experience [of avoiding relegation] last season.

“But we don’t want to be fighting these battles because we think we’re better than what we’re doing.”