Valerien Ismael says his Barnsley players will be inspired by their two heavy defeats to Preston North End last season when they host them tomorrow evening.

The Lilywhites beat the Reds 5-1 at Deepdale and 3-0 at Oakwell last season. They are 15th, two places and two points behind Barnsley who have won on Saturday at local rivals Sheffield Wednesday for the first time in more than decade.

Ismael said: "The game at the weekend was a great moment and something special but, since yesterday, I am focused on Preston and so are the guys.

"If you see the results against Preston last season – they were really bad. It is a reason why we want to do better but we want to stay focused on the pitch and to improve our game.

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"Preston should be in the play-off positions with the quality in their squad. They have some former Barnsley players who will be motivated against us.

"We need another ruthless performance with concentration. It is a third game in seven games, we learned from this situation against Bournemouth (a 4-0 defeat after a three-game week) and we will take better decisions this time."

Defender Mads Andersen added: "There is a big difference in our team now from last season when we played them. We are more confident now, more experienced and more hungry to win. We are very happy and confident, we just have to keep going.

"The win on Saturday was lovely. I am very happy about it, I think we all were.

We showed a great mentality, strength, hard work and good structure. We made it very difficult for Wednesday."

Preston have conceded the most goals in the Championship this season. Ismael said: "We have to use what we saw from Preston. They have a lot of quality and very good build-up but there are problems, we have seen that and we will try to use this tomorrow."

Centre-back Aapo Halme is out injured for four weeks with a fractured toe, with Michal Helik likely to replace him.

Ismael said: "It is bad news for us but we have to adapt. We played some games without Aapo with a great performance."

Helik – who moved from Polish football in the last window – has been dropped for the last two games after some errors. Ismael said: "I think the positive thing in this situation is he has had a break for the last two games. He has had time to breathe, get fresh in the head and I had a very good feeling with him in training yesterday. You can see he has recovered his strength. I have had a good feeling for him for tomorrow's game.

"It was the first transfer for him and the Championship is a really tough league. It doesn't wait for you to be ready. We have had a lot of good games, and good wins, with Michal and I am sure he will be ready for tomorrow."

Andersen is on four yellow cards this season. A fifth in the first 19 games will give him a one-game ban. Tomorrow is the 19th game. He said: "It can't affect how I play. If I have to take yellow card, I take a yellow."

Callum Styles also has four bookings so far.