BARNSLEY have won six of their last seven games in all competitions which, although questions remain over home results and ability to compete with the top teams, shows they are hitting good form earlier than they did last season.

After collecting seven points from five games in August, they have picked up nine from four in September with only the poor start against Portsmouth letting them down.

The fifth-placed Reds have two more points than at this stage last season.

Early September saw them sell captain Liam Kitching, leaving even greater question marks over whether they have the defence for a promotion chase, but strengthen the squad elsewhere so that every other area looks ready for a top six challenge.

They have by far the top-scorer in the division in Devante Cole who has nine in nine, while there is plenty of competition to play alongside him or in midfield or at wing-back.

It is certainly a different style of football to last season, within the same overall ‘DNA’ and using similar formations.

They are making about 100 passes more per game than under Michael Duff and have gone from conceding the second fewest shots on their goal to now the fifth most. Clearly that latter stat is one they would like to change.

Liam Roberts has had to make 32 saves in nine games after Barnsley’s goalkeepers last season made 86 in 46.

Defensive midfielder Luca Connell’s absence through illness is a major factor while Kacper Lopata, who had a strong start to the season in the middle of the defence, could now miss at least a few weeks.

They now host Blackpool, a similar visitor – in terms of their stature in the league and quality of their squad – to the likes of Peterborough, Oxford and Portsmouth who have all won at Oakwell this season.

The Reds need to prove they have the defensive capabilities to deal with one of the better sides over 90 plus minutes.

If they do so and win, it will have been a truly excellent month.

October was a poor month last season, with a four-game run which brought one point and no goals when they were barely mustering a meaningful chance.

But then they became one of the best teams in English football for six months.

By the end of October, they will be a third of the way through the season.

It is clearly still a squad still gelling and finding consistency under a head coach in Neill Collins who is often tinkering with formation and personnel as he adapts to EFL management.

But if they build on this current run, they will emerge as serious contenders for promotion once again.