POYA Asbaghi admits keeping Barnsley in the Championship would be the biggest achievement of his career.

After scheduled Boxing Day visitors Stoke City had to pull out due to a Covid-19 outbreak in their training camp, Barnsley are due to visit third-placed Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday from 7.45pm then seventh-placed Nottingham Forest the following Monday, January 3.

After a 0-0 draw at home to West Bromwich Albion on Friday, the Reds are second-bottom in the Championship, seven points from safety and winless in seven games. Other clubs have games in hand on them after Covid cancellations.

Barnsley’s points tally of 14 is their joint lowest at the halfway point in a season since 1900. Asbaghi said: “I have done a lot in my career even though I am a young coach. But keeping Barnsley up this season probably would be my biggest achievement so far.”

He is the first Barnsley boss not to win any of his first five games since Paul Hart in 2004.

“It would be massive to get that first win. You cannot underestimate the effect of winning a football game.

“When it happens, we will get a good feeling and things will go on by themselves. But we cannot just wait for it to happen. You have to work extra hard.”

Asbaghi’s five games have brought three points and two goals. He has focused first on being defensively solid but now wants better attacking.

“We want be a hard team to beat but we need to have an offensive approach to score goals and turn draws into wins.

“I don’t know if it’s right to say we need to take more risks, it is more about developing the ideas.

“In some games we show good combinations for a couple of minutes but it hasn’t been as often as we want to. That is normal because the time we have been here is not long, it is not like a pre-season. We know we have arrived in a challenging situation in the middle of the season and we need to improve things faster.”