Valerien Ismael is urging his Barnsley players to begin tomorrow’s Yorkshire derby at fifth-bottom Huddersfield Town with more intensity than the previous two matches and ‘go back to our philosophy.’
The Reds are sixth, four points clear of seventh-placed Reading with four games remaining – after their club record six-game winning run away from home ended with a 2-0 loss at Coventry City on Sunday. They visit the John Smith's Stadium from 7.45pm.
Ismael said: "The guys need to be more on fire and more ready, not to wait for the opponent to score or have chances.
"The two first halves in the last two games were very sloppy and slippy. We have to get back to our strengths of what Barnsley is from the first minute and play with intensity. It is not enough to play for 45 minutes.
"It is a young team and sometimes that happens. Sometimes you think wins will fall from the sky and you can get results without making the next steps in your performance. In the Championship, all the opponents are difficult.
"We have four games left. We need more points to get over the line. But we are focusing on our performances and getting back to our strengths.
"It is all in our hands, the spirit is very good. The guys learned from Coventry and I am sure they will make another performance against Huddersfield.”
Huddersfield are 20th, eight points clear of the relegation zone but third-bottom Rotherham United have two games in hand.
The Terriers were six points off the play-offs at the turn of the year but have the Championship’s worst record in 2021, despite winning 2-0 at Nottingham Forest on Saturday to ease some fears of relegation.
Carlos Corberan’s team usually passes out from the back and tries to keep possession but most of Barnsley’s recent opponents have abandoned their normal style to play long balls.
Ismael said: "Huddersfield is a tough side like all the teams. They are almost safe. I think they created a big gap between them and Rotherham. They are a possession-based team who always try to create a lot of chances from the back. We saw in the first game (a 2-1 win for the Reds on Boxing Day) that it was difficult for us.
"In the last few weeks we have changed our approach and prepared the guys for two or three gameplans in case the opponents changes their way to play. We are not surprised if they do that now. But it is all about our performance."
Liam Kitching returned to training this week but is at least two weeks away from making his debut while Herbie Kane and Ben Williams are still not fit enough to train.