POYA Asbaghi believes a home win over League Two Barrow AFC in the third round of the FA Cup today from 3pm would be huge for his team’s confidence at the start of a run of six games in 21 days.
The Swede’s six games since taking charge in late November have brought three draws, three losses and three goals.
The Reds are winless in eight since a victory over Derby County on November 3 while they have won just two out of 25 games this season in all competitions.
Asbaghi told the Chronicle: “You can still develop as a team without winning, by understanding you are performing well and doing things right.
“The players can be motivated and learning.
“But winning makes everything so much easier, you gain so much by winning.
“It gives you confidence you are doing things right.
“Sometimes you can gain more confidence by winning but playing a s**t game than playing a wonderful game but losing.
“No matter what we say as coaches, just winning a game can give confidence. It is no secret we need confidence in these young players.”
Barrow are 19th in League Two, four points clear of the relegation zone having been promoted from the National League in 2020.
The Bluebirds have won just one of their last 13 league games since October 2, with their last match being a 2-1 home loss to Bradford City on Saturday.
They have not scored or won in any of their last five away games across two months, losing three.
“If you look objectively, the chances of us winning a game like this should increase. But the cup has taught us that, if you have that approach and think you should win because you are in a higher division, you will be proven wrong.
“We are really humble going into this game. Barrow beat Ipswich, a League One team, in a good way.
“If we don’t play 100 per cent in a good way it will be really, really tough.
“If we do things well, the longer the game goes I hope it plays into our hands. We hope to get a win and gain confidence for the league games that are coming.”
Replays have been scrapped for the third and fourth rounds, with ties going to extra-time and penalties.
Barrow won at non-league Banbury in the first round 4-0 and beat League One Ipswich Town 2-0 in a second round replay.
The Cumbrian club’s top-scorer this season is Ollie Banks, the son of Barnsley legend Ian Banks.
His fellow midfielder Josh Kay spent two years at Oakwell after signing from Fylde in 2016, playing once.
Asbaghi said: “It’s a new team for me but we have scouted them pretty well. They play controlled football and like to build through midfield with a lot of passes. They are pretty good at that.
“We recognised weaknesses as well which we want to use in a good way.”
Last season, Barnsley also hosted League Two opponents in the third round as they beat Tranmere Rovers 2-0 then won 1-0 at home to Norwich City in the fourth round before losing 1-0 at home to Chelsea in the last 16.
Asbaghi said: “I asked the players who were here last season when we played Chelsea to go back and remember how they felt.
“They were probably filled with a lot of adrenaline and they wanted to show the world they are good players.
“Barrow will feel this now, it will be the game of the year for them.”
Asbaghi, who won the Swedish Cup with Gothenburg in 2020, grew up watching FA Cup games in Sweden.
“When I grew up, we watched the FA Cup and we saw it every year, teams from lower league beating Premier League teams who have 100 times bigger budgets. I might be from Sweden but we watched a lot of English football.
“To be able to compete in this competition is special for a Swedish person and I see it as a privilege.”
Barrow’s manager is Mark Cooper, the former Peterborough United, Swindon Town and Forest Green boss who took over for this season.
He has met Barnsley three times as a manager. His Swindon side, that would reach the League One play-off final in 2015, did the double over the Reds that season – 2-0 at home and 3-0 away – but then lost 4-1 at Oakwell later that year.
Cooper worked with Barnsley players Liam Kitching and Brad Collins at Forest Green.
Barnsley have not played Barrow since 1970 – two years before they were voted out of the Football League, after finishing third-bottom, and remained a non-league side for 48 years.
The Reds won 13 – including the first nine meetings – lost four and drew the most recent clash on January 31, 1970 in Barrow.
The Bluebirds lost on their first six trips to Oakwell then won 3-2 in both 1966 and 1968 before losing twice in 1969 including 3-0 in the FA Cup – their most recent visit.