BARNSLEY boss David Flitcroft won’t be putting a pre-match teamtalk on hold today just because the Reds’ face a mouth-watering South Yorkshire derby with Sheffield Wednesday.
The Reds go in search of revenge against the Owls after a 1-0 defeat at Oakwell earlier in the season.
But mort importantly three points are up for grabs which could see Flitcroft’s side pull further clear from the relegation zone and away from their fellow strugglers, with Dave Jones’ team also struggling down at the wrong end of the table.
“I personally don’t look at the table,” Flitcroft told The Star. “I know we’ve got nine games to go and we’ll be treating this game like any other.
“We feel can stay up and we’re doing everything we can to achieve.
“But even though it’s a derby I’ll still need to give them [the players] a big game teamtalk.
“The players have made massive sacrifices for me ever since I took over, so they deserved a break with their families over the international break.
“And they’ve come with energy and really enthused about the task ahead.
“People said we wouldn’t beat Brighton or Watford, but we proved them wrong. This is a team in form and we’ve coped against the bigger clubs.
“We’re not going to fear Sheffield Wednesday, but we know they’re going to be a tough side to beat.”
And Flitcroft admitted he is surprised to see the Owls languishing so low in the standings.
“It is a surprise to be honest because they’re a big club and spent a lot of money on players like Conor Wickham, [Michail] Antonio, [Danny] Pugh and then they’ve just brought in [Seyi] Olofinjana.
“These are players we can only dream of bringing in to the club.
“But we’ve got a great squad and a togetherness. I trust this bunch of players – and they trust me.
“I’d have loved to have had the players Sheffield Wednesday have been able to recruit. But for me this group of players have been unbelievable.”
And Flitcroft knows he will have be clever with squad rotation to limit injuries in what promises to be a gripping final run-in in the Reds bit to retain their Championship status.
“We’re going to have to be clever how we utilise the squad,” admitted Flitcroft.
“We’re only two injuries away from having a small squad, so it’s going to be important how we manage how much game time different players get.
“Saturday is the most important game of the season so far. It’s a game that we want to win.”