Barnsley boss Lee Johnson has called for his side to be “bold and brave” in their quest to upset Everton in the Capital One Cup second round tomorrow night.
The League One Reds host the Premier League Toffees at Oakwell full of confidence having gone on a promising four-game unbeaten run.
And there will be extra spice to proceedings with former defender John Stones expected to make an emotional return to his former club.
‘It’s a good game for us because we’re on the back of a good little run,” said Johnson.
“We’re four games unbeaten so the confidence is there and they [the players] believe in each other.
“We may be able to catch Everton unawares if they haven’t put their usual team out.
“It’s a question of whether we can impose ourselves on them and deal with their quality.
“If we do manage do get a result it will be a great day in the history of Barnsley Football Club.
“Hopefully the energy is there. If it is then I think we’ll compete on a football level.
“There’s nowhere to hide. We’ve got to come out and be bold and be brave.”
The Reds will be without winger Ryan Williams who is expected to be sidelined for around a fortnight with a groin tear.
But otherwise Johnson has a fully fit squad to choose from as the Reds look to beat Everton for the first time since December 1951.
“We want to win the game – and we’ve got a chance to win the game,” stressed Johnson.
“But it’s a difficult one which team to pick because we’ve got four games in nine days.
“They’re Premier League opposition and they’re full of high-quality talent, but I trust the squad and I’m happy with the squad. It’s a bonus game
“We’ll go toe-to-toe with them in a football sense, that’s for sure, but then it [the result] will depend on our quality in the final third and whether we can stick the ball into the back of the net or not.
“I’ve got huge respect for [Everton manager]Roberto Martinez for all he’s achieved. He’s still a young manager and he’s created an identity at all of the clubs he’s been at.
“It’s great for me to pit my wits against a manager of his quality. I’m really looking forward to it [the challenge].
“He’ll want to win the game. He’ll probably try and pitch it that he’ll rest a couple [of players], but he’ll want to win the game. We’ve got to try and exploit that.
“Sometimes the Premier League sides don’t want to look like they’re working hard against a League One side – and I think that might be our opportunity to exploit.
“If a Premier League side does come here and not think they have to work hard, then we will expose that because we have good players.
“We’ve got a lot of young lads in our squad who are keen to prove they can play at that [Premier League] level.
“We’ve got [Ben] Pearson, [Joe] Rothwell and [Dan] Crowley] that have come down from Premier League clubs, and we’ve got young lads like James Bree that has got a point to prove because there’s a lot of people interested in him.”