Lee Johnson is realistic about Barnsley’s chances of achieving a sought-after play-off place this season.
But the Reds’ new boss is wise enough not to get carried away with a run of four successive wins which has seen the club climb to a promising tenth in the table.
Two of those wins came under former caretaker duo Mark Burton and Paul Heckingbottom, with the last two victories having come since Johnson took charge. However, Johnson knows his side need to score more goals if they are going to make their mark in the remaining 12 games of the season.
“We’re not a free-scoring side – and that’s clear,” admitted Johnson. “So we’re going to have to score more goals than we have done.
“But we’re all positive and, if we can continue this run, then we’ve got a really good chance [of getting into the play-offs]. The immediate goal [when I sat down with club owner Patrick Cryne] was to stay in the division. You do have to be realistic.
But part of the plan here is to raise the value of the squad. If the value of the squad is going up, then that means the team are performing and we’ve got good young players. That’s what we’re looking to achieve and hopefully success will come at the back end of that.”
Johnson, whose side host Walsall at home today, has worked with his squad for just over a week.
And although the 33-year-old has been “very impressed” with the way his players have taken on board his tactics, he knows it will take a little longer to engage in his philosophy.
“It’s a case of drip-feeding the players [my philosophy] at the moment,” revealed Johnson. “Footballers, like anybody, can only retain so much information.
“It’s very difficult to get all my thoughts out in a week and, more importantly, get them to stick with the players. I’d like to work a couple of systems going forward, but it will take time to get things over.
“But I’ve been very impressed with the players so far, it’s been an encouraging start.”
Meanwhile, Johnson made a double loan swoop yesterday when Colchester striker Jabo Ibehre and Cardiff defender Declan John both joined until the end of the season.
Ibehre, 32, played under Johnson at his former club Oldham Athletic, while 19-year-old John has played ten times for the Bluebirds this season.
Looking ahead to this afternoon’s clash with The Saddlers, Johnson predicted:
“It will be a tough game. They’re hard to beat and they have a little bit of attacking flair the way they set-up, so we can’t rest on our laurels and have to make sure that our tempo is just as high as the other night [a 1-0 home win over Coventry City].”