CONFIDENT Barnsley go into tonight’s home clash with Championship league leaders Queen’s Park Rangers with a spring in their step.
Saturday’s fine 4-2 home win over Bristol City saw the Reds reach 50 points for the season and, barring a drastic run in their remaining six games, the club’s status in the second tier of English football should be secured for a fifth consecutive year.
But Oakwell boss Mark Robins does have injury concerns ahead of the Rs’ visit to South Yorkshire with midfielder Hugo Colace, centre-back Jason Shackell and full-back Bobby Hassell all doubts.
Colace was forced off with a leg injury after just 24 minutes of the weekend’s win over the Robins, while club skipper Shackell missed out due to illness.
Shackell should be fit to return to the side with either Stephen Foster and Paul McShane expected to make way in the centre of defence.
If for any reason he doesn’t make it back then midfielder Nathan Doyle is once again expected to captain the side.
Full-back Hassell is unlikely to play with an ankle ligament injury and a re-occurrence of his left calf injury, although he could return in time for Saturday’s away clash with Middlesbrough.
And Robins and his side will want a measure of revenge tonight after Neil Warnock’s team thumped them 4-0 at Loftus Road on the opening day of the season.
QPR are nine points clear at the top of the division and know a few more victories would secure the title and promotion to the Premier League.
However, having reached 50 points and relative safety it’s no wonder the Reds are looking to kick-on and finish the season as strongly as possible to better a previous high finish of 18th in the past four league campaigns.
“It’s massive hitting the 50-point mark, that’s the aim that every club has before the season,” revealed Reds defender Matt Hill.
“The quicker you get there, then the more you can look at what else is out there [to achieve].
“We can relax a little, but still kick on and hopefully try and get the right results towards the end of the season.
“We want to finish on a high. We’ve got a tough game tonight, but we want to keep this momentum and finish on a good note.
“We know it’s going to be very difficult right towards the end of the season, but we’re willing to go all the way because players are playing for their future. It’s important we’re doing well.”
And Hill believes Saturday’s win over his former club is just what the Reds needed having previously not won in their last three matches prior to that fixture.
“That [win] was the momentum we needed to kick on,” stressed Hill.