Barnsley visit Port Vale tonight in the EFL Trophy and Michael Duff says he will field a stronger side than in the group stages.

The Reds visit Vale Park from 7.30pm in the first knock-out game.

Vale, who won the League Two play-offs in May, are currently tenth in League One, four points behind the sixth-placed Reds. Vale beat Charlton Athletic 1-0 at home on Saturday.

The Staffordshire club – whose director of football is former Barnsley manager David Flitcroft – drew 1-1 at Oakwell in the league in September.

The Reds finished second in their group after losing their first game 3-0 at home to Lincoln City then beating Newcastle United 21s and Doncaster Rovers.

Port Vale won all three group games without conceding a goal, against Stockport, Shrewsbury and Wolves under 21s.

Head coach Duff has made wholesale changes for each of the Trophy games so far this season, with several under 23s players and fringe first teamers given a chance.

Some of them have since been loaned out but the likes of Jack Walton, Jasper Moon, Will Hondermarck, Harrison Nejman, Danny Benson, Fabio Jalo and Jack Butterfill could be involved. James Norwood is suspended after being sent off earlier in the competition.

Duff said: “We will have a few young ones in there but there won’t be as many changes as in the group games. There’s a chance to get to Wembley in the knock-outs. We will still make some changes to the team.”

This will be the 113th meeting of the two clubs, who have beaten each other 46 times, and the second in the EFL Trophy with the Reds having lost 1-0 at Vale Park in 2004.

Barnsley have won six of their last eight away matches in all competitions.

The Reds were eliminated at this stage last time they were in the Trophy, at home to Manchester City on penalties in 2018.

Their previous campaign in the competition saw them lift the trophy at Wembley in 2016.