REDS head coach Valerien Ismael hopes his side can reproduce their strong end to 2020 in the new year, as they visit leaders Norwich City on Saturday from 3pm.

The Canaries are top of the Championship, while Barnsley are eighth.

Ten points separate the two sides, who have each lost one in their last five league games.

Daniel Farke’s side were relegated from the Premier League following promotion last year then were one of the biggest spenders in the Championship for this season.

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They had lost just one of their last 16 games, and won five in a row, before being beaten 1-0 at Watford on Saturday.

They then drew 1-1 at home to QPR on Tuesday.

The Reds won their last two games of 2020, with 2-1 victories over local rivals Huddersfield Town and Rotherham United on Boxing Day and Tuesday respectively.

Following his side’s away win at Rotherham, Ismael said: “It was the last game of 2020 and a positive finish but we know now that we face a tough January with only the top teams.

“We have to stay focussed, take games one-by-one and take the energy into the new year to start well and to finish the job.”

Barnsley have won just one of the last 15 games against Norwich, a 2-1 home success in December 2016 thanks to goals by Tom Bradshaw and Conor Hourihane.

The last meeting was a 1-1 draw at Oakwell in March 2018 in which Oli McBurnie put the hosts in front.

Earlier that season they drew 1-1 at Norwich with Harvey Barnes equalising to end a run of six straight losses there from 2001.

Barnsley have not won at Carrow Road since Douglas Hunt got the only goal of a 1937 fixture. They had also triumphed two years earlier as well as in the FA Cup in 1922.

Since then, their 18 visits have brought eight draws and ten losses.

This match is set to be top-scorer Cauley Woodrow’s 100th for Barnsley.

The 26-year-old has scored nine goals this season, and the club expect to fend off interest in him in the transfer window.

Jordan Williams is still a doubt with a hamstring problem while Aapo Halme, Ben Williams and Mike Bahre are all long-term injury absentees.

Goalkeeper Brad Collins and striker Conor Chaplin missed Tuesday’s clash with Rotherham due to the former showing Covid symptoms.

Ismael said: “Brad came to us with a headache and it was an alarm for everybody when a player comes with symptoms.

“Normally it’s nothing wrong and we asked Brad if he had contacted any other player and it was Conor Chaplin.

“That is why we did our job to take the two players out and we had a test with Brad and it’s negative. We have to be on the safe side.”

Both players returned to training on Wednesday.

“Conor was unhappy with the situation but we have to respect the protocols,” added Ismael.

It had been initially hoped that this game would see a return of fans for the Reds players to play in front of but that all changed when the Norfolk area was upgraded to tier four restrictions.