Barnsley manager Michael Duff had his players involved in an in-house game on Saturday as they prepared for Tuesday night’s clash with Port Vale.

The Reds’ scheduled game against Portsmouth, along with all other weekend football fixtures, was cancelled due to the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday night.

As a result, Barnsley decided to pit their own players against one another. It has helped to beef up the fitness of some of their squad, while some were rested.

Duff told the Chronicle: “It is way above my pay grade, what should or should not have happened. You can see it from both sides.

“People will have paid money and travelled and people would have wanted to pay their respects. Football crowds, being football crowds, would they have behaved one hundred per cent? I’m not so sure.

“You just deal with the hand you have been given. We did prep, we picked the team and went through all the set plays knowing it could get called off.

“We had an in-house game on Saturday because some players still need minutes. Certain players didn’t play because they didn’t need minutes, they have played a lot of football and we had a few niggles. The new lads coming in, the players who haven’t been involved much, got some minutes. It was good and done properly.

“We actually had to cut it short because of the distances they were covering. We got what we needed out of it in a short period. The intensity of the game was good.”

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Barnsley host Vale tomorrow night. They are 17th in the table following their play-off win last season.

Duff feels they should not be written off and is hopeful his players will continue where they left off at Hillsborough, where they stunned promotion favourites Sheffield Wednesday with a 2-0 victory.

He added: “They (Vale) have had a good start and have won eight points already but should be on ten because they deserved to beat Cheltenham. They did everything but win the game but conceded in the 93rd minute.

“They went on a great run to get into the play-offs and carried that momentum on to win the play-offs and it’s carried on again this season. I have been there and I know how that feels.

“That confidence they carry over is dangerous. They only lost by one to Portsmouth and MK Dons. Other than their game with Exeter they have either picked up results or been in games right until the last minute.

“It will be difficult. They’re not one of the bigger clubs in the league but that does not mean they haven’t got good players and that is what we will be warning our players against.

“It’s not Sheffield Wednesday or Ipswich but it doesn’t mean they are not a good team. I can speak from experience because that was my team (Cheltenham) last year. After the game they go: ‘you lot weren’t bad’. Supporters will turn up and expect to win but as we have proven in the last few weeks, it doesn’t always work like that.

“We are trying to carry on the momentum of the last few performances and can we get another performance which will hopefully lead to a positive result."