NEILL Collins knows his Barnsley team have been boosted by their crucial win at the weekend but insists they will remain ‘level-headed’ going into the final quarter of the season.

The Reds – who won 2-1 at home to second-placed Derby County on Saturday – are fourth in League One, three points off the top two and six clear in the play-off places with 63 points from 33 games.

The two teams directly above them, Derby and Bolton Wanderers, both lost on Tuesday which means the Reds are three points behind both with two games in hand on the Rams and one on the Trotters who visit Oakwell on Tuesday.

Leaders Portsmouth are ten points ahead of the second-placed Reds who have two games in hand on them and are due to visit Fratton Park later in the season. Barnsley have 13 fixtures left, starting with a visit to mid-table Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow.

They could potentially move into the top two this coming week if they continue to win and results elsewhere go their way.

Collins told the Chronicle: “We have stayed pretty level-headed. When you’re on a good run, you take for granted what it feels like when you’re not.

“Everyone is positive, trained well and is excited about what lies ahead. But they have stayed relatively consistent.

“I am not seeing anyone getting carried away but the best time to judge that is during the next game.”

Collins added: “Saturday should give them a lot of belief – it was a good performance and a good result.”

Has the top two been his aim all season? Collins said: “Everyone made it quite clear when I arrived last summer that the aim was promotion.

“We addressed that with the group then tried to win every game.

“If we do that well, we might end up in the top two. If we don’t do it quite as well, we might do it well enough that we’re in the play-offs. We’ll just focus on winning games.”

Barnsley have scored in their last 20 games in all while the 3-0 loss at Derby County in November was the only time under Collins they failed to score. If they net against Wycombe, it will equal the longest such run in a single season since the 1966/67 season.

Collins said: “We don’t take it for granted but I want my teams to attack and score. I know the saying is that if you don’t concede, you can’t lose but if you don’t score, you can’t win.

“We’ve done a good job of creating chances, scoring goals.

“We’re getting goals from all over the pitch – set pieces, open play.

“Hopefully that run continues.”

On Tuesday evening, Derby lost at home to relegation-battling Charlton Athletic while Bolton were defeated at Wigan. Collins said: “I went to watch Bolton because we play them again.

“The result impacted our end of the table but Bolton were excellent, they just couldn’t get the goal.

“They are going to be right up there.

“Derby were pretty unfortunate.

“They are results we’re aware of but it’s not like we have two games left.

“Everyone will drop points.

“It just reiterates that every game is tough, home or away.”

The Reds are unbeaten in five since losing at home to Exeter in late January while they have lost just two of their last 23 league games since September.

“You always look at what you could have had. We should have got something from Exeter.

“We’ve had more players available since that game. We’ve been able to put out a different team which I think has made us stronger. It could have been a big set-back but the players responded really well straight away.”

Collins added: “We have to play five games in the next two weeks. We can’t get despondent if we drop points or too high if we go on a good run because there could be kicking just around the corner. We’ve had consistency over a long period of time. I have been in teams when you are up and down a lot but this group has stayed consistent.

“That will be important until the end of the season.”