BARNSLEY’S first team are not the only side in play-off action tomorrow.
The under 18s – who won the league for category two academies by 11 points – host Millwall from 11.45am at Oakwell in a one-off play-off semi-final.
The game is free to watch and, even if it goes to extra-time and penalties, is due to finish in time for the first team’s semi-final first leg at Bolton Wanderers from 3pm.
Academy manager Bobby Hassell told the Chronicle: “It would be fantastic for the lads to win the double. We want to win but we’ve comfortably been the best team at this level regardless.
“The play-offs keep the season entertaining at our level and give the lads something else to go for.
“We have got to the play-offs two years in a row which is great exposure and experience for the players.
“Notoriously our academy players have struggled over the years playing on Oakwell, even at under 23s level, but recently they have managed to cope with the different environment and a bigger crowd.”
Hassell is hoping the under 18s and first team can both win their play-offs.
“It’s been an unbelievable season.
“The first team are in the play-offs – and most other seasons they would have got top two with the way they’ve performed – the under 18s have won the league and the ladies team has won the league as well. It’s a phenomenal season for a club that was on its backside a year ago – in terms of the first team.”
Barnsley under 18s lost 3-1 at Millwall in their second game of the season in August. Hassell said: “They travelled on the day, arrived five minutes before kick-off, Millwall wouldn’t change the kick-off time so the lads ran straight onto the pitch. We had a few lads missing with the under 21s. They played well in the first half and should have been 4-0 up but individual errors cost us in the second half. But it will be a very different game this time.”
The winners then face the winners of the other semi-final between Charlton and Sheffield United with the venue to be decided by a random draw.
Barnsley under 21s won 3-0 Reading in their last game of the season.
Fabio Jalo bagged a brace with the hosts scoring an own goal.
They finished seventh.