BARNSLEY will look to end their mini blip away from Oakwell today from 3pm when they visit Forest Green Rovers who they could relegate.
The Gloucester club are last in League One, 14 points off safety with five games left. They will go down if they don’t beat the Reds but even a victory might not save them depending on other results.
Barnsley have lost their last two away games at Exeter and Burton.
Head coach Duff told the Chronicle: “They will still believe they have a chance until it’s impossible.
“You never want to be relegated at home. There are factors but, for us, we’ve lost our last two away games and we want to stop that run.”
No side in the EFL has won fewer games than Forest Green’s six league victories or lost more than their 27.
They have the worst defensive record with 76 conceded and have scored the joint fewest with 29. Forest Green had not won in 16 league games – losing 13 – before stunning Sheffield Wednesday with a 1-0 home victory last month.
They have since lost 1-0 at Portsmouth and 2-0 at home to Derby on Friday and lost 2-0 at Wycombe on Monday.
Duff said: “People would have expected us to win the last two away games
“There aren’t easy three points or hard three points. It’s all the same.
“There will be a perception that we have to be winning 1-0 after ten minutes then 2-0 at a certain time. But it doesn’t matter how we win as long as we do.
“They start in a 4-4-2 but they play a box in the middle, with their strikers as false nines and the wingers the highest players. They had more of the ball when we beat them at home and they are still looking to do that.
“They have had a difficult season.
“They lost their last home game to Derby, and I don’t know how. The game before they beat Sheffield Wednesday.”
Forest Green won League Two last year under ex-Red Rob Edwards who then left for Watford.
Ian Burchnall was brought in from non-league Notts County but sacked in January and replaced by former Everton and Scotland striker Duncan Ferguson in his first permanent manager’s role.
Ferguson – who scored against Barnsley for Everton in the Premier League – has won one, drawn two and lost ten of his 13 games so far.
Duff said: “He frightens the life out of me. I won’t be going head to head with him. He was an unbelievable player and he’s a good person.
“I played with his assistant Tony Grant at Burnley who is a really good bloke.”
Barnsley have never visited the Nailsworth club, whose stadium is called The New Lawn. They are a vegan and eco-friendly club.
Forest Green have the second smallest average attendance in the division with 3,200. Barnsley were yesterday very close to selling out their 1,224 tickets.
“I know the club really well. They were our local rivals at Cheltenham.
“It’s a tiny little ground in the middle of nowhere up on a hill, usually windy.
“Our fans will get one whole side and a lot of it is terracing. I don’t think I am being disrespectful for saying they (Forest Green’s) are not the most partizan fans and they don’t get the biggest crowds. Our supporters were magnificent at Burton and hopefully we give them more to cheer about this time.”
The first meeting of the clubs was on October 29 last year, when Barnsley won 2-0 thanks to a Devante Cole header and a late Josh Martin strike.
That ended a run of one point and no goals from four games for the Reds and, following a change from 3-4-3 to 3-5-2, began a run of much better form.
Barnsley have several former Forest Green players. Suspended Nicky Cadden spent the previous two seasons there before moving to Barnsley last summer, joining his former Rovers team-mate Liam Kitching who moved in January 2021. Brad Collins spent the 2017/18 season on loan in Gloucestershire while James Norwood was a prolific scorer for them from 2011 to 2015.