Barnsley will be hoping to make it seven points from their first three games after the re-start when they host promotion-chasing Blackburn Rovers from 6pm tomorrow.
Blackburn are ninth, four points off the play-off places, while the Reds are bottom of the Championship, four points from safety. Rovers began the re-started season with a 3-1 win over Bristol City then lost 2-0 at their near neighbours Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
Head coach Gerhard Struber told the Chronicle: “Blackburn have, from a physical side a very good team especially (Sam) Gallagher, but also they have, with (Lewis) Holtby, players with very good technical skills who can play very good on the ground. They showed me more football.
“They have the chance to get into the promotion places and they will fight for that. We have a clear plan and I have a very good feeling that we can win if everyone is ready and on his personal limit.”
Midfielder Luke Thomas said: “Blackburn have got a fighting chance of the play-offs. They have really good players and they are a good team. There’s no reason why we can’t win. We have got four points out of the last six and we are as confident as we could ever be. It will be strange to kick off at 6pm with no one at the ground, but hopefully everyone will be watching us from home and we can put on a show and get the vital three points we need.”
Left-back Ben Williams, who was at Blackburn Rovers until being released aged 18, told the Chronicle: “I look forward to every game but it’s a big one against my old club. I am trying not to look at it any differently to all the other games. They are another team who are pushing for the play-offs. I have stayed in contact with quite a few of their players and it will be good to see some familiar faces. But, at the end of the day, it is about getting the win against them.”
Struber’s first game was a 3-2 loss at Blackburn Rovers in November when the Reds equalised twice but conceded a late winner. Asked what he had learned about English football in the seven months since then, Struber told the Chronicle: “A lot. The Championship is a tough league, and every team can win against every team. This is a special situation. No team ever gives up and every team is fighting.
“The other big learning for me is set pieces. We have to have a good plan in attacking and defending set pieces. This was a big issue before my time and in the first few months of my responsibility. We have made a big step and now it is not easy to score goals against us from set pieces.”
Conor Chaplin, who has 12 goals this season, has been on the bench for both of the game since the re-start. Struber said: “Conor is always a big topic for me. He is a very important player. It is not easy when you sit on the bench but his behaviour is very professional. He will help the team. Maybe he will start against Blackburn, we will see.”
Struber said that, with a fully fit squad, he may make changes in personnel and also in formation after moving away from his usual 4-4-2 diamond to use a 3-4-1-2 in the last two games. “My system is fluid – sometimes we play in a diamond, sometimes we play in a back three. It is sometimes a surprise for the other teams when we can change our formation and our system. We are comfortable in different systems now, this is possible because we have had time together in training in the last weeks.”
Struber is pleased with the 1-0 win at QPR and 0-0 home draw with Millwall. He said: “We have kept five clean sheets in our last seven games. The boys won one of their first 16 games but now we have a completely different attitude, structure and work together. We have made very big steps. After four points from two games with two clean sheets after lockdown, I am very proud of my boys. We play in very difficult times but we have a very professional team.”
Struber also hinted that George Miller, who has spent the season on loan at League One Scunthorpe United, could be involved in the future. He said: “When I see George Miller in training, he shows me a very good picture from the physical and running side.”