Barnsley: Reds can ill-afford to lose focus

Reds goalkeeper Luke Steele
Reds goalkeeper Luke Steele
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BARNSLEY shot-stopper Luke Steele believes the club are benefiting by doing things in halves.

The resurgent Reds, who were rooted to the foot of the Championship just before the turn of the year, have gone nine matches unbeaten in one of their best runs in the club’s history.

Eight of those matches have been wins with the team having climbed out of the bottom three and also earnt themselves a mouth-watering FA Cup quarter final showdown with Premier League Manchester City next month.

Steele has told The Star that one of the secrets to success has been not looking too far ahead. A recipe, the whole squad believe, could lead to complacency.

“We have been treating every half differently whether we’re ahead of behind,” he said. “It’s worked for us because we’ve not been looking too far ahead. Ever since we’ve been bottom of the table we’ve been taking one game at a time and making sure we give every team we play our full concentration.

“After every performance we’ve gone back to square one, re-focused and gone again. I’m sure we’ll keep doing that for the rest of the season.”

And no doubt that includes tomorrow’s crunch clash with basement side Bristol City at Ashton Gate.

A victory for the Reds, who are currently two points above the drop zone, would be their seventh in succession.

“We just can’t afford to have a dip [in form],” added Steele, conscious of the fact the Reds’ league form suffered as a result of their run to the FA Cup semi-finals in 2008.

“When we went on that run a few years ago we were sitting above the relegation zone in quite a comfortable position, but that’s not the case now. We know there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Barnsley will be without Scott Golbourne who has been ruled out for the rest of the season with knee ligament damage while midfielders Stephen Dawson (ankle) and Paul Digby (hip) are still missing through injury.

The Reds have captured Manchester United youngster Ryan Tunnicliffe on a 28-day loan and the midfielder could make his debut tomorrow.