Barnsley aren’t interested in League One play-off scrap

Barnsley assistant head coach Dale Tonge says his side are only focused on going up in the top two.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 10:53 am
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 10:57 am
Owls forward Fernando Forestieri

The Reds are second in League One, but only two points ahead of third place Sunderland, who have a game in hand.

Although unbeaten in 14 league games, they have drawn their last two 0-0 which has allowed the Black Cats to haul them back in.

Barnsley assistant boss Dale Tonge

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The Tykes still have Sunderland to play at home, so an automatic return to the Championship is in their hands and Tonge insists finishing in the play-offs is not in their thinking.

“We are looking at automatic,” he said. “We want to go up. We want to win every game, that is our aim. Our aim is to go up automatic.

“If we fall short of that we will plan for eventuality when we get there, but our aim is to win every game and we know that if we do win every game, then we have got the opportunity to go up.

“As I have mentioned in press conferences before, the lads rarely focus on any negatives. They are a great group to work with because a lot of it is positive, positive, positive.

“There will be no negativity, if there was to be moving forward the boys would react well and there would be no problem.”

There are likely to be plenty of twists and turns in the promotion run-in, with 12 games to go, but if Daniel Stendel's side win all of those they will be guaranteed a top-two finish.

“If it’s in your own hands, that is all you could ask for,” Tonge added. “You know there is no one else to worry about other than yourselves.

“If you do what you need to do, the rest will take care of itself.”

Barnsley will try and extend their unbeaten run to 15 games with a televised lunchtime kick-off at Southend on Saturday.

The Reds won 4-2 at Roots Hall in the FA Cup before Christmas but Tonge is expecting a tougher assignment this time around.

“It was a great win,” he said. “It is a game we have looked back at.

“We have looked at what worked really well on the day, but we are likely to face the best Southend have produced since their comeback against Portsmouth. We are expecting a hard game.”