GERHARD Struber has admitted today's South Yorkshire derby at Oakwell is a ‘necessary three points’ in his team’s bid for survival.

While the Austrian said every game was important, he added he was confident heading into the 1.30pm kick-off that Barnsley would come out ‘like fighters’.

“Sheffield Wednesday are a good team, but they’re not a magic team,” said the head coach on Thursday.

“This is a big chance to show our fans what we can do and it’s the right time to play against Sheffield Wednesday. It’s a big derby.

“It’s a special game. It’s a big name, with a big history, and many people in the club tell me this is a special derby.

“I hope that many people come to support my team. We need our fans here.

“For every single player, it’s a big motivation. We need the right mentality, we need to fight from the first second to the last second.

“This is our responsibility, that we give our fans a cool fight.

“We need an atmosphere in the team, to go on the field like fighters.

“We give the opponent no time, no space, and from the first second we don’t give the opponent momentum.”

Wednesday are 11th, seven points off the play-offs and 14 clear of the relegation zone, although they have lost five of their last seven league matches and could face a points deduction after being charged by the EFL with misconduct in relation to the sale of their stadium.

Barnsley are second-bottom, seven points adrift of safety after a 2-1 defeat at fellow strugglers Charlton Athletic on Saturday. That was a fourth successive loss for Gerhard Struber’s team in all competitions.

The last time Barnsley lost five games in a row in all competitions was under Paul Heckingbottom in 2017 and the last six-match run was under Lee Johnson two years before.

“After the game, me and my team were frustrated,” said Struber. “We had a lot of chances and created a good game. Our big issue now is to handle set plays.

“We’ve spent a lot of time in the last few weeks on set plays.

“For the next game, it’s a big game, a big atmosphere, and I think we need all our fans to support us in this difficult situation. I’m hopeful we can create a good performance and we can win.”

The Reds have not won at home to Wednesday in five attempts since the 2-1 success in 2008 in which Iain Hume opened the scoring before penalties by Barnsley’s Jamal Campbell-Ryce and the Owls’ Leon Clarke.

The Owls’ last seven league games have brought a win, a draw and five losses.

They are the highest away scorers in the division with 26 while almost two thirds of their goals have comes away from Hillsborough, where they have scored just 14 in 15 games.

After today's derby, Barnsley are due to host 17th-placed Birmingham City on Tuesday before visiting third-placed Fulham the following Saturday.

February is concluded by another three-game week, against teams currently between 14th and 18th place, as they host Middlesbrough then visit Hull City and Reading.