Barnsley: Work to do as Reds eye safety spot

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson
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Barnsley boss Lee Johnson has stressed his side are “not out of the woods yet” despite a welcome return to form.

The Reds hauled themselves off the foot of League One with a battling away win over Colchester United last weekend.

And next up is a crunch home clash with Wigan Athletic, with Johnson and his players knowing another win could see the club climb out of the relegation zone.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” stressed Johnson ahead of tomorrow’s home clash with the Latics. “There’s still a lot of work to be done!

“We’ve got to continue our good vibrancy in our attacking play, get the ball down more and knock it about more and keep working on our organisation.

“But we’ve gone for a ‘no blame’ culture here. We talk about it [mistakes] and we sit around the table and design things to help the players, because I think the modern-day player doesn’t like the blame culture.

“At the end of the day they are young and we’ve got to educate as we go.

“It’s difficult to educate and win, but that’s what we’re trying to do.

“It would be a huge boost to the players if we can win at the weekend and get out of the relegation zone.

“A couple of wins can put all the love back in the room.”

The Reds beat the Latics 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out earlier this month to secure a place in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area Final.

“It’s a tough game for us, but the players want to give something back to the fans,” added Johnson. “It will be a tougher game that the JPT game, but I’m looking forward to it.”

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Burnley loan defender Kevin Long could start this weekend having finished his three-match suspension for a red card.

And Johnson revealed the club are close to extending the centre-back’s loan deal until January in the first instance, with a potentially longer deal after that.

“We’re looking to extend it,” said Johnson. “We’ve had talks with Burnley and they’re keen for us to extend it, but they’ll require an immediate recall if needed.

“They’re not blessed with a massive squad, but they’re keen for him to get games. And we’re keen to keep him around as long as possible.

“Realistically with Longy we might get the maximum three months out of it, but that also depends on whether they recruit or not in January.

“We have got options in central defence, but we felt when we brought Longy in that we wanted to crank up the competition.

“it’s no fluke we’ve been on a better run recently.”