Barnsley: Boost as Kenny Dougall makes return

Christmas has come early for Kenny Dougall after the Barnsley midfielder returned to training following injury.
Kenny DougallKenny Dougall
Kenny Dougall

The Australian has been occupying the sidelines since suffering ankle ligament damage during the Reds’ 3-1 defeat at Shrewsbury on October 23.

But Dougall was back in training on Wednesday and, although Saturday’s trip to Blackpool will come too soon for him, he is closing in on a return to first-team contention.

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“He trained for the first time in every session with the team (on Wednesday) and he looks in very good shape,” assistant head coach Andreas Winkler said.

“We are looking from day to day and if we do not have any problem, he can be part of the squad very soon.

“He is very important. Yesterday it looked like he worked really hard with our sports scientist and physio. He is almost at 70 per cent.”

A four-match winless streak has seen Barnsley, one of the favourites for an immediate return to the Championship, slip out of the top six.

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The Tykes bounced back from consecutive away defeats with a draw at home to League One leaders Portsmouth last week, when an impressive display was let down by wayward finishing.

And Winkler says the players are determined to return to winning ways at the seaside.

“The players are disappointed. They put their chin up and be more aggressive,” Winkler said.

“Yesterday we had a tough session and everyone was aggressive and wants to go for a win. They have good character. There is a good motivation for Saturday.

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“We have a little pressure now. We want to play good but all we need is points. It is all about results, we want to start a winning run. This is what the players know.

“Pressure makes you focus on your goal. Christmas is in front of us and we want to have a happy Christmas, and Blackpool the opposite of that.”

Barnsley head to Bloomfield Road knowing an improvement is needed in their away form, having lost four of their last five matches on the road,

“It is a concern, it is too much. We have to stay to our plan, to our style of football, away and at home. We have to improve,” Winkler said.

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“The opponent teams know our style, maybe more after looking at the video clips, and how to play against us.

“Sometimes we lose our style, to be aggressive, go forward and attack forward. Everybody in the team doesn’t play the same style.

“If you don’t do it in the same moment, as a team, attacking and defending together, then you have a problem in these periods of the match and the opponent feels it.

“The home games is easier for us because of the atmosphere. But we have to remember we did it away earlier in the season and go back to that.”