MICHAEL Duff believes there have been ‘signs of progress’ in Barnsley’s performances this season and hopes they continue in tomorrow's South Yorkshire derby at in-form Sheffield Wednesday from 3pm.
The Reds have collected seven points from their first six League One matches, including a 2-2 draw at high-flying Ipswich Town on Saturday which left them 16th in the early table. That was their first away point of the season.
The Owls are one of the favourites for promotion this season and have so far collected 13 points from six games which leaves them third.
They won 5-0 at home to Forest Green Rovers on Saturday and are unbeaten in their last 14 matches at Hillsborough.
Duff told the Chronicle: “There have been signs of progress. I was told the group wasn’t together when I came in. But they have started to show spirit in some games. There have been a few bumps and it will take a lot more work.
“We will have to be at it, play very well and we might need a bit of luck to win the game. If we lose it won’t be the end of the world and if we win we haven’t cracked it.
“It’s just about grinding out results constantly in this attitritonal league.”
Wednesday are managed by Darren Moore, Duff’s fellow former centre-back, who played for various clubs including Barnsley.
Duff said: “His playing career stands up next to anybody’s. And he’s done well as a manager as well.
“As a gentleman and a bloke, everyone in football would tell you he’s a diamond of a fella. I wouldn’t want to get on the end of his right hook but I don’t think he throws many of them.
“Luckily I never had to mark him at a corner because he was always too big for me. Win, lose or draw we will go to the office and have a beer. But hopefully we will have the points.”
Duff added: “They are a big team and big club. They have signed a lot of players and there will be an expectancy to get out of the league which brings pressure.
“Their squad is really good but it’s Darren’s job to keep them all happy.
“There will be players who would get in nearly every League One team who are not in the squad. We will focus on giving the best account of ourselves in a very hard game.”
Duff is looking forward to the derby atmosphere.
“You shouldn’t need to get motivated to play in front of about 25,000.
“It’s a brilliant place to play football. Players want these kind of games.
“But that doesn’t always guarantee you a good performance.
“Teams in this league, your Cheltenhams and your Morecambes, are not as easy to get up for. You turn up to a place like Hillsborough and your juices are flowing straight away.
“I played in some big derbies for Burnley against Blackburn.
“As a manager, Cheltenham had derbies but they were in front of four or five thousand and a few sheep – it’s not the same as Sheffield Wednesday against Barnsley.”
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