NEILL Collins was unaware the gap from Barnsley to the teams outside League One’s top six had increased to seven points as he is focusing on catching the top three.

The fourth-placed Reds are seven ahead of seventh-placed Stevenage and six behind second-placed Derby County who they play on Saturday.

Collins told the Chronicle: “I didn’t know it was seven points.

“We’re just looking above.

“We’re going to have to continue to pick up a lot of points to keep that gap to seventh and to try to finish as high as possible.

“With the games we have coming up, we’re thinking about how we can keep closing that gap to the teams above.”

Collins made the decision to take captain Jordan Williams out of the back three for Saturday’s win at Fleetwood Town, returning him to right wing-back where he excelled last season.

Williams had struggled at times as a centre-back and was replaced by Mael de Gevigney on the right of the back three with Jamie McCart in the middle.

Collins said: “A big part of what Jordan has done well is progressing the ball well, counter pressing and defending one-on-one. We will still need that at times but we will also need him at times at right wing-back. He was excellent at Fleetwood.”

De Gevigney, McCart and Josh Earl started in the back three on Saturday with debutant Donovan Pines coming on for McCart for the last half hour.

Pines, the USA international who joined in January, helped the team to victory and Collins now faces a choice whether to start him against Derby.

He has not started a game in almost five months since October 1 with former club DC United in the MLS.

Collins said: “It’s great he got his debut. That was excellent. It’s always nice to give someone his debut and for it to go well. He’s in contention like other players.

“Jamie was excellent as well considering he hadn’t played loads of football. We went with him on the basis that he knows the league and environment.

“But it was a big step forward for Donovan and he handled it really well.

“Derby would be a big game to make your first start in but Donovan has played a lot of big games before. It’s good to have these decisions to make.”

Williams’ move to right wing-back meant Corey O’Keeffe was an unused substitute at Fleetwood having impressed in the previous game at Shrewsbury Town.

Collins said: “That competition is what you have to have.

“You can’t only have 11 players and no guys on the bench thinking they should be starting. You need that competition and high calibre of players. Our bench on Saturday was strong and helped us win the game.

“We’re going to need that.”

After the Derby match, March sees Barnsley visit Wycombe Wanderers then host another promotion-challenger Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday the fifth.

They then welcome Lincoln City before two games against relegation-battlers as they go to bottom club Carlisle United on a Tuesday evening, and host Cheltenham Town on Saturday, March 16.

They are then due to visit leaders Portsmouth on March 23, unless the game is called off due to international call-ups. The Easter weekend sees Barnsley host Cambridge United then visit Burton Albion.