Callum Styles believes Barnsley’s ability to overcome the ‘flat’ atmosphere in empty stadiums will be vital for their relegation fight this season.

The Championship is scheduled to resume on June 20 behind closed doors with the last-placed Reds hoping to claw back a seven-point gap to safety. 

“We all believe we can do it,” 20-year-old midfielder Styles told the Chronicle. “Nine games is a lot of games. There are 27 possible points. We just have to stay positive, keep working hard and the points should come our way. We just have to get your head around this situation as quick as you can, and do it better than other teams. 

“Without fans, the games might be a bit flat and teams might not have as much drive. We will have to overcome that because, as a team, we have loads of motivation to stay up this season.  We need to keep our foot down and keep working hard. The Championship is great and we want to stay in it.”

Styles signed a four-year deal in 2018 and, after coming off the bench seven times in the Reds’ promotion run-in in League One, he made another seven substitute appearances in the Championship this campaign. He was given his first league start for the club against Birmingham City in February.  But he was taken off at half-time in the 1-0 home defeat and was injured in training three days later. 

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“It’s obviously not been one of my best seasons but I have been really pleased to play in the Championship. My injury came at a really bad time but I had to stay positive. It’s been up and down but overall I am just happy to get some minutes.  I am 100 per cent fit now so hopefully I can play a part. I would love to get a few more starts then get some assists and goals. Overall, my time at Barnsley has been really good so far.” 

While all football has stopped since March, Bury – the club that Styles began his career with – have not played at all since achieving promotion from League Two a year ago which he contributed to while on loan back to Gigg Lane in the first half of last season.  The Shakers were removed from the EFL due to financial issues and are at risk of liquidation.  Styles, who made 47 appearances for Bury, said: “It’s not nice. I was there for a few years.  They’ve been really unlucky.  Most of the clubs now are feeling what Bury have felt all season, but only on a short-term basis.” 

Styles was pleased to be back at Oakwell this week but did not mind lockdown. He said: “I was just at home spending time with the family.  I enjoyed it. We played a few games and watched a lot of Netflix.”