Michael Duff says Barnsley won't need to use the late postponement in January as motivation when they face hosts Exeter City from 7.45pm on Tuesday.

The Reds are fourth in League One, six points off the top two and 12 clear in the top six. They are eight points behind leaders Plymouth Argyle with two games in hand.

They have not played since winning 4-2 at home to local rivals Sheffield Wednesday last Tuesday.

Barnsley are unbeaten in 12 with ten wins. They are unbeaten in six away games, keeping clean sheets in the last three.

Exeter are 11th, 15 points off the top six and 14 clear of the relegation zone – having been promoted from League Two last season.

They thrashed local Accrington Stanley 5-0 at home on Saturday, with Michael Duff in attendance, while the Reds had a free weekend.

This match has been re-arranged twice. Firstly it moved due to Barnsley reaching the third round of the FA Cup. Then, on Tuesday January 24, the Reds squad and hundreds of fans had already made the 250-mile trip to Devon but the Grecians called the match off with no prior warning three hours before the kick-off.

Duff told the Chronicle: “We shouldn’t need any extra motivation with where we are in the league and the run we’ve been on. I know supporters might think we use things like that but it’s not the Exeter players’ fault that the game was called off. No one can control the weather. We’re not in a league where every ground has undersoil heating. The pitch was hard in places but I went there on Saturday and it looks really good now.

“Whether they could have called it off earlier has nothing to do with me. It won’t be ‘we owe these one’. They beat us earlier in the season and we won’t use that either. We just know they are a good team. It’s a game in hand and we just want to win.”

Barnsley are expected to be backed by about 700 fans in Exeter. Duff said: “I know how far and expensive it is so we appreciate anyone who makes the trip. It always amazes me with fans of all clubs. There were about 40 or 50 Accrington fans in Exeter on Saturday and it raises a wry smile. It’s almost sadistic when they travel all around the country and give up time, money and family commitments. They are what makes football football and what makes it special.”

Exeter – under former Scotland defender Gary Caldwell – had collected one win in seven since New Year’s Day, scoring just four goals.

They then gained two wins and a draw before going down 3-1 at lowly Cheltenham and winning 5-0 at home to another struggler Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

Exeter had not won at home for more than three months before winning their last three.

Exeter won 2-0 at Oakwell in October, with a Jay Stansfield brace ending the Reds’ six-match unbeaten run and beginning a sequence of one point and no goals from four games.

“They are a good team. The teams who played here will be totally different. Gary has given them a completely different style of play. They play through the thirds, and are really easy on the eye.

“They are on a good run. They have a good blend of experience like Kev McDonald, who I played with at Burnley, and good youngsters like they always do. They are on the crest of a wave after a 5-0 win.”

Second-placed Sheffield Wednesday lost at bottom club Forest Green Rovers on Sunday.

Duff said: “There are loads of warning shots, like the Sheffield Wednesday result. It shows you can’t take anything for granted. The only points we dropped in the last six games were against the team ranked lowest in the league in Bristol Rovers. The players are fully aware they need to hit similar levels to the last games. There won’t be the same atmosphere and it's a long way to go but there are no excuses.”

Devante Cole said on the postponement: “That was a nightmare. It’s a long way to go on the coach. It won’t happen again but we are still thinking ‘please no’.

“They won 5-0 at the weekend but any team facing us will be worrying more about us at the minute. We will take the game very seriously, we’ve seen at the weekend like with Sheffield Wednesday, anything can happen.”

James Norwood was at Exeter between 2009 and 2011, playing just five games, while Robbie Cundy did not make an appearance in a brief loan there from Bristol City in 2019.

Should Mads Andersen play, he will break Arjan de Zeeuw’s record for Barnsley appearances by a non British or Irish player with 165.

The two clubs have met 21 times, with Barnsley losing ten and winning seven. The Reds have lost eight and won two of their ten games at St James Park.Their last trip was a 1-0 win in 1980 when Glyn Riley netted.