POYA Asbaghi hopes the home match with Blackpool, which was scheduled for tomorrow, will be the last Barnsley have to cancel this season.

The Reds are thought to be without about 12 players through Covid-19 and injuries so called off the home games with Stoke and Blackpool this week.

Their next match is due to be at Birmingham on January 22.

Asbaghi told the Chronicle: “I can’t say how many are out but I will say that we need 14 players available and we don’t have that right now. The FA Cup was the same situation but there are different rules to the Championship.

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“We have had players testing positive this week and new injury cases as well.

“We don’t have enough players for a football game right now and we haven’t for a couple of weeks.

“But I am really hopeful that we will play the Birmingham game.

“The schedule will get very tight with games as it is so I hope we can play the next games.”

While none of the players who have tested positive are thought to have particularly severe cases, Asbaghi knows they may not be at full strength when they come back to training.

“When they are back I hope they fit back in soon but we know this virus affects your ability to train and have good rhythm in your breathing. Some players have suffered after they come back. It is different from player to player.

“We have to manage their training.”

Training has been taking place with lower numbers and an influx of academy players. Poya said: “It is not only affecting us playing football games, it is affecting our training. We don’t have enough players for a normal training session.

“As long as we have some players who can train, we don’t see any reason to cancel the training. We will keep working with those players.

“We have to keep motivation up in training and make sure the players are still developing.

“What I am happy to see from the players is that, even though they are so few, they have come with the right attitude and they want to work on things in training and get better.”

Barnsley are second-bottom in the Championship, eight points from safety.

Asbaghi said: “Most people outside have already ruled us out if they look at how many points we have and the situation we have with injuries and so on.

“I can understand people are ruling us out. But we see the attitude of the players. The feeling in the club is the most important. We know we work against the odds but my players don’t look like players who share the opinion of those on the outside.

“When we have more players back, I hope we show that the gap from us to the other teams is not as big as it might look right now.”