Hull had lost five home games in a row before last week's 4-4 draw with Swansea City in which they took the lead three times but needed an injury-time equaliser. Only Barnsley and QPR have conceded more goals on their own turf than the Tigers, who lost 5-1 to Brentford in their previous home game.
Barnsley head coach Gerhard Struber said: "Hull is not in the biggest form but it is our duty tomorrow that they stay in this form also after this game. We will play with high intensity, which will be the biggest problem for Hull.
“We need a big focus, it is a very difficult game. But when, we give everything we can, we are difficult for Hull. We will need the right energy together, and our attitude needs to be like a winner. The attitude is, in the end, the big point.
“We speak the last few weeks about big weeks and big games, Hull is our next step to show our fans we can bring consistent clean sheets and wins. That is the focus for my fans and my team.”
Struber said that midfielder Marcel Ritzmaier could be fit to start after injury while goalkeeper Sami Radlinger might return next week. There is no update on Bambo Diaby’s suspension following a failed drugs test while the Reds are still searching for a new centre-back in the free agent market.
Struber’s first win in the job was a 3-1 home success against Hull on November 30. The Tigers have since lost star wingers Kamil Grosicki and Jarrod Bowen in the January transfer window.
He said: “It is a good memory. We played with a good energy and style and, in the end, we celebrated the win. We have to reproduce that character and mentality in the game tomorrow.
“It is a different team, they lost two big players and this is a small advantage for us. But they have other good players. When we see them at set pieces, they are very good with big players who can cause problems in the air.”
Defender Aapo Halme added: “We have had two good games and the team is more confident. It will be a good game against Hull. It is massive to keep this run going. It is a great game to play. We beat them last time so we just have to do so again.
“In this league, if you are on good form or bad form, it doesn’t matter that much because everyone can beat everyone."
Having won 3-0 at Fulham last week and 1-0 at home to Middlesbrough on Saturday, the Reds are second-bottom, five points adrift of safety – although they could fall back to last place and see the gap to fourth-bottom grow tonight when Luton Town and Huddersfield Town both play.
The Reds have not won a midweek league game in 14 attempts since the 4-0 victory at Rochdale in August 2018. Since losing 1-0 at home to Birmingham City in their last midweek match, they have kept two clean sheets and won both games. Struber said: “The last 14 days have been a big challenge for me to bring always the right words for my players and give them the belief that they can stay in the league. I don’t tell my boys a joke. I am not a dreamer, I am a realist.
“I always believed we would stay in the league, 100 per cent, but it was not easy to find the right words after Birmingham. Every single player was so frustrated and disappointed. After 14 days, we speak about a completely other situation in terms of our energy. In the table, it is not a big difference - it is still five points until we come out of the relegation zone. But it is very important to only focus on our style, performance and attitude and not to look always at the table, that is not helpful.
“It is the Championship, you can always have a new situation. It is better for us now. The last games show that the team is ready for the fight and, right now, we are back in the big fight to stay in the league. We are fighting together. Our progress is good, in every game we are more efficient in our game style.
“The last two games, in many parts in the games, I have the feeling the players understand what I want. The best thing is when the player understands what the trainer says. This is, right now, my feedback from the players and they have a big motivation to bring what we do in training into practice in games.”
Struber changed formation from his 4-4-2 diamond to a 3-4-1-2 for the win over Middlesbrough, with Kilian Ludewig and Clarke Oduor as wing-backs. He said: “It was the right moment to change the system against Middlesbrough. Kili and Clarke like very much to play in this position. We played also in Charlton in a back three in the second half. The boys understand to play 4-4-2, flat or a diamond, 4-3-3 or with a back five. Which formation we play is a small thing, but the most important thing is to have the right principles and the right attitude.”