Barnsley have their eyes on second spot – and beyond

Barnsley's manager Daniel Stendel on the touchlineBarnsley's manager Daniel Stendel on the touchline
Barnsley's manager Daniel Stendel on the touchline
Automatic promotion is still well within reach of Barnsley, insists head coach Daniel Stendel.

The Tykes could climb up to second spot on Tuesday night should they defeat Oxford United at the Kassam Stadium and results elsewhere go their way.

A draw or victory for table-toppers Luton Town against second-placed Portsmouth could see Stendel’s side climb one place up to second if they defeat the U’s.

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“I think the gap to first and second is not so much,” said Stendel. “You can see our form in the last weeks, it’s normal that we have this goal. But it’s not easy. A lot of teams are in good shape. 

“It’s important we can play every week at our best and we win games. 

“The last weeks we have showed we have a good squad with good quality.

"We have played teams from the top of the table and have played very well. Sometimes you need a bit of luck and we’ll have the chance to achieve our goal.”

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Having swept Oxford aside on the opening day of the season at Oakwell 4-0, Stendel is expecting a different encounter against Karl Robinson’s team who sit fourth from bottom.

“We know that Oxford is a difficult opponent,” he said. “From the first day, I’ve said that we will play our style and play our game. When we play that well, I think we can win every game in this league.

“When we have a normal day, we can win. It’s important for us to show our best performance.

"A good example was Rochdale. In the away game I think we played very well and it was one of our best games of the season. In the home game it was very different - the performance and result. 

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"We won the first game against Oxford 4-0 and it was a very good start for us. I expect a difficult task but I think we can win.” Stendel confirmed duo Lloyd Isgrove and Zeki Fryers are fit but are nor part of his immediate plans due to the “better shape” of others in his squad. 

Elsewhere, Mike Bahre should be back in the squad having missed the last two matches through injury but there are no other concerns for the head coach. “Mike Bahre is back. He trained last week for two days. It was too short to take him into the squad on Saturday but he is in the squad again.”