MICHAEL Duff admits it is ‘weird’ to be in the thick of a club season during a World Cup but is just focused on maintaining Barnsley’s good form while planning for the January transfer window.

The Reds are sixth in League One with 30 points from 18 games which equals the final total from last season’s relegation campaign. They won 3-1 at home to lowly Milton Keynes Dons on Saturday – a third successive league victory which put them back in the play-off places.

They then lost 2-1 at Port Vale on Wednesday in the EFL Trophy with a much-changed team, ending a four-game winning run in all competitions.

Barnsley now host League Two Crewe Alexandra in the FA Cup tomorrow.

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Duff is pleased with recent form but added to the Chronicle: “We don’t get carried away.

“We’re not into December yet.

“We’ve put ourselves back in a good position, but that’s all it is.

“You could look at it like we’re a point off fourth or a couple of points above mid-table. I try to just get the players to focus on the next half all the time.”

Chairman Neerav Parekh was due at Oakwell this week, with discussions ongoing about the January transfer window in which the Reds are hoping to bolster their attacking options.

Duff said: “We had a meeting.

“There are conversations being had.

“As always it’s a case of what’s available and what we can afford.

“We will try to get players in who can help a squad that is fairly light, particularly with the injures.”

Barnsley were unbeaten in September then went winless and goalless for four matches during October before winning both league matches in November.

Duff is hopeful December will be another good month but realises there will be some inconsistency.

He said: “It’s going to take time.

“But I am seeing a lot of positives in terms of mentality and spirit.

“Day to day, it is going in the right way. Supporters only see performances and results, but I am seeing things I am pleased with.

“You will always get blips along the way, I don’t care how good you are.

“We want to be more consistent, entertain more and give the supporters more to cheer at home. The last two home games, we have won both and scored five so long may it continue.”

The World Cup in Qatar started this week, with England winning their first game against Iran 6-2 on Monday.

The tournament is being played in November and December rather than the usual English summer timing, with the Premier League and Championship pausing but League One and below continuing. Duff told the Chronicle: “I missed the build up to it. It is strange for the players going to work then coming home and watching games. No one will be sitting in beer gardens watching.

“Most World Cups, I watch every game but I will pick and choose this time because I will be watching a lot of other football. It is weird with it being in the middle of the season.

“As far as we’re concerned, we just crack on. The leagues above always get international breaks and we never have done in this league.

“If the players want a break, get us promoted and you’ll have one next season.”

The Crewe match is the last in the month of November which has so far seen Barnsley win three and lose one of their four fixtures in all competitions.

In December’s league fixtures, they visit Peterborough United on Friday then Oxford United on the tenth before hosting Burton Albion then going to Accrington Stanley on Boxing Day and completing 2022 at home to Fleetwood Town. They could also play an FA Cup replay, if tomorrow’s match is drawn.