Barnsley: Dale Tonge happy to have points on the board

Mamadou ThiamMamadou Thiam
Mamadou Thiam
Barnsley assistant head coach Dale Tonge would rather have points on the board than games in hand when it comes to the League One promotion race.

Third-placed Sunderland beat Accrington on Wednesday night to close the gap on the Reds, who drew with Coventry last week, to three points.

The Black Cats also have two games in hand, meaning their fate is in their own destiny, but Tonge is happy with Barnsley’s current position.

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"You would always take the points and they have still to get those points and have tough games to come,” he said.

"They did their job last night, which is what we are expecting them to do. It is even more important for us to do our job.

"It is up to us to get maximum points as much as we can over the next six games.

“The quality of League One this year, especially at the top, is of a very high level.”

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Head coach Daniel Stendel has a young squad at his disposal, but Tonge believes they are handling the pressure of the run-in just fine.

“They are a young group making their way in the game and it’s new to them,” he said.

“The weekend was evident that if they were under pressure, they didn’t show it.”

Along with midfielder Kenny Dougall, 18-goal striker Kieffer Moore is sidelined for the rest of the season.

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Barnsley have managed just 10 goals in nine games without Moore, meaning Stendel made a change up front in the 2-2 draw with Coventry.

Mamadou Thiam, usually a winger, joined Cauley Woodrow in attack and that partnership is likely to be seen again at Burton on Saturday.   

Tonge said: "It worked quite well, to say it is a very new partnership.

“It was something that was worked on in the week and as a pair, I think they compliment each other quite well as they have similar ideas in how they play.

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“There is still loads of improvements if that partnership is to blossom. We were quite happy with it.”

Barnsley head to the Pirelli Stadium on Saturday to take on a Burton side sitting in mid-table.

But Albion are a team in form after winning their last two games, scoring eight goals.

“A very tough one (challenge),” Tonge said.

Nigel Clough always has his teams up for big games. They understand the importance of every single game.

“Nigel is a very tough character and his team identify with that. They are a very hard-working group.

“They scored five goals last week so they will be full of confidence and a threat.”