We fear no opponent, says Barnsley asst head coach Dale Tonge as 2,000 Reds fans prepare for journey to Portsmouth

Barnsley assistant head coach Dale Tonge has labelled Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash at Portsmouth as “massive” as the Tykes look to extend the five-point gap between the two teams.

Thursday, 21st February 2019, 11:17 am
Updated Thursday, 21st February 2019, 11:22 am
Dale Tonge. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Tonge insists the Reds will be going all out to win on Saturday at fourth-placed Pompey, despite several players suffering from fatigue after Tuesday’s goalless draw with Burton. “There are just a few boys that feel a bit fatigued, but there’s nothing new (injury-wise),” said Tonge.

“The effort these boys have put in this season can’t be underestimated. The style of play the gaffer wants, to sustain it to this point has been outstanding. This is why the emphasis on the squad is so important. 

“It’s massive (the game). It puts down a marker and puts down a bigger gap between us and Portsmouth and that’s our only aim this weekend.”

The Tykes will be without striker Kieffer Moore, whose head injury will be assessed at the weekend, whilst defender Ben Williams is expected back in full training by the end of the week. Tonge is hopeful the Reds will be back to their goalscoring best having fired a blank against Burton at Oakwell in midweek.

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“We’re well aware of the gap that Kieffer leaves but Mike (Bahre) has performed well, especially on Saturday,” continued Tonge.

“We didn’t quite get him into the game as much (on Tuesday) neither did we with Cauley (Woodrow) in terms of the link-play between the pair of them. “I think this is a good opportunity for Mike with what’s, unfortunately, happened with Kieffer. But this is an opportunity for Mike to step in and really earn his place.

“We go into every game to win, that’s genuine. We don’t go into the game with any fear of opposition.

“We respect the opposition but we believe in our squad and believer that we’re good enough to beat any team.”

Around 2,000 fans are expected to travel to Fratton Park from South Yorkshire, and Tonge expects a tremendous atmosphere as the Reds look to go unbeaten for a 14th consecutive match.

“We’re going to have more than 2,000 fans going down and it’s going to be a great opportunity and a great occasion,” he added.

“It’s going to be a great atmosphere as it’s a bit of a cauldron. It’s something the boys are looking forward to. “They’ve not picked up the results they’d obviously want. We all know how big of a game it is, we aren’t going to shy away from it. We know it’s a big game and we’re going to tackle it head on.”