‘We have to win five games to reach play-offs’, says Barnsley boss Lee Johnson

Barnsley manager Lee Johnson.
Barnsley manager Lee Johnson.
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Barnsley boss Lee Johnson believes his side might have to win all five of their remaining matches to stand any chance of a play-off place.

Johnson was left angry and disillusioned after his side lost both of their fixtures over the Easter break. Defeat to South Yorkshire derby rivals Sheffield last Saturday was the club’s first for ten games.

However, the Easter break was salvageable with a win against strugglers Colchester United.

But from 1-0 up at half-time the Reds crumbled on their travels in a shock 3-1 loss that leaves them seven points off sixth position.

“The last two defeats have been a car crash for us in terms of out play-off aspirations,” admitted a frustrated Johnson. “It’s not just a dent, we’ve given ourselves a lot to do now.

“But what I will say is that I know what it takes and I’m sure we’ll get it right.

“It’s fair to say now we’re going to have to win four of our last five games if we’re going to stand any chance of getting in the play-offs.

“We maybe need five, so it’s a big ask now with not many games remaining.”

The Reds are 11th in League One having failed to turn up over the Easter break.

And with tough fixtures against Chesterfield, Notts County, Peterborough United, Bradford and Rochdale to come, Johnson knows he’ll be asking a lot of his players to pick up a maximum 15 points from their final finish to the season.

It can be done of course with the Reds having won six games on the spin in that incredible nine-game unbeaten run.

But three of their forthcoming opponents – Chesterfield, Peterborough and Rochdale – are all fighting for a play-off place as well, so getting the wins the Reds’ need will be tough.

And Johnson doesn’t know why his side failed to fire in their last two matches, arguably their most important of the campaign.

“We’ve got to make sure we stamp out that soft under-belly, or sign players that haven’t got that,” stressed Johnson.

“We should have won that game [against Colchester] and the players should be disappointed with that defeat.

“I’ve come out of that game and not sure how we’ve folded like a pack of cards. It was very disappointing.”

To make matters worse experienced defender Lewin Nyatanga had to have stiches for a nasty gash to his head in Monday’s bad loss to the relegation-threatened U’s.

And it’s now a doubt whether he will be able to play in this Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated derby clash with Chesterfield at Oakwell.