Barnsley: The point where Daniel Stendel was convinced Reds would win promotion
Daniel Stendel knew his Barnsley side were good enough for promotion when they came through a testing week in March.
The Reds had three games in six days against Accrington, Sunderland and Doncaster and were hit with selection problems.
Top scorer Kieffer Moore had recently gone down with a head injury which was expected to keep him out for the season while Jacob Brown and Cameron McGeehan were serving three-match suspensions for their indiscretions in a win at Southend.
But the Tykes made light of their situation and took five points, beating Accrington and posting draws against their promotion rivals and their fierce local rivals.
Stendel, whose side had also recently drawn at Portsmouth, had a feeling at that point that something special could be on the horizon.
“The week when we had the three games, we had Brown and McGeehan suspended and Kieffer Moore was injured,” he said.
“We played against Sunderland, Doncaster and had already got a draw at Portsmouth. Then after that we had a feeling.”
Even after holding off the Black Cats and Pompey for so long, things took a turn for the worse when they were beaten by Burton, meaning that their promotion fate was no longer in their own hands as the chasing pack had games in hand.
They were not going to let their lead slip, though, and posted four successive wins for the only time in the season, which ultimately proved enough.
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Barnsley beat Fleetwood, Shrewsbury, Plymouth and Blackpool, applying pressure that Portsmouth and Sunderland could just not handle.
Stendel added: “When we lost at Burton it felt difficult to achieve our goal after 46 games, but the last four victories in a row – the first time that happened in the season, was in the right moment.
“I think the last home game against Blackpool, the pressure was very high.
“We were 1-0 down, but the team improved. You could see we wanted to win, we created chances, it came all together and I had a good feeling.”
Barnsley are turning their attention to preparations for life in the Championship and they are expected to announce their retained list in the coming days.
Adam Davies, Ryan Hedges, Lloyd Isgrove and Adam Jackson are the men out of contract and the situation regarding Davies will be the most concerning.
The captain won the League One Golden Glove for the most number of clean sheets in the division and, having won his maiden senior Wales cap this season, he could attract interest from some established clubs.