NEILL Collins says he has an ‘excellent’ relationship with Barnsley fans, despite some chanting for him to be sacked this week, and insists the top two is: ‘still on if we win games.’

The Reds, who have six league games left this season, are fifth in League One, eight points off second-placed Derby County with two games in hand.

They are four points off third-placed Bolton Wanderers, with one game in hand, and level on points with fourth-placed Peterborough United who have played the same games. They are seven points clear in the play-off places.

Over Easter, they lost 2-0 at home to Cambridge United on Friday then won 3-1 at Burton Albion on Monday, setting club records for 42 away points in a season and 11 games unbeaten on the road in the same campaign. They now visit Charlton Athletic tomorrow – who are 16th – before a game in hand on Tuesday at Stevenage who are eighth.

The Reds are due to stay down south between the two games.

There were chants from some of the away end on Monday calling for Collins to be sacked. Collins told the Chronicle: “My relationship with the fans has been excellent. Everyone I have met has been nothing but supportive.

“I am a football fan myself, I understand the frustrations.

“I have been in away ends supporting my team (Kilmarnock). The Barnsley fans wear their hearts on their sleeves and I have no problems with that.

“I was at my last club (Tampa Bay Rowdies) five and a half years. It builds up a lot of relationships, success and shared memories. I’ve only been here nine months. I follow a lot of sport and there are a lot of managers or coaches who go through much tougher periods than me.”

One of the chants criticised Collins’ style of play, with some fans often saying it is too slow and boring.

“It’s personal opinion. That’s what is great about football.

“I want our fans to enjoy watching us. I think there have been many more fantastic moments than negatives in respect to the play, goals and performances. We always strive to be better.

“I don’t want to go too much into style of play. The fans pay to come to watch and our job is to entertain them so, if some feel like that, it means we’re not doing a good enough job. We’ll try to do better.”

On the top two, Collins said: “It’s still on if we win games.

“It’s not about Derby dropping points, it’s about us picking them up and being in position if anything changes.”

The Reds were arguably favourites for second place when they went 2-0 up against Bolton on March 5 but drew 2-2, starting a run of eight points from six games. Collins said: “We put a lot of effort in that night against Bolton but just came up short, with Donovan (Pines) picking up a serious injury which was part of the disappointment. We have had a couple of particularly poor home results since then but there will be ups and downs over 46 games.

“The consistency the team has shown has been fantastic. At a key point we’ve hit a dip but within that we have still picked up wins. There’s frustration about where we could be but we’re still in there fighting and there is a lot to play for. We’re trying to play for automatic. There are a lot of teams who would swap places with us.”

While Barnsley are enjoying their best ever away season, they have ten fewer points at home and are winless in four there. Collins said: “To break a record like that at a club like Barnsley, who have had some very good teams, is pretty impressive. No one is more disgruntled with our home results than me. When we go away other teams have the pressure of having to be the protagonist. When the roles are reversed, maybe we have to be better and, when we go behind at home, it can be difficult. We have given the 1,500 who go away a great season, not as much for the 13,000 at home. Would we like to flip it? Possibly. If we can get both, that would be a very potent combination.”

On Saturday, Portsmouth host Shrewsbury Town and Bolton visit Bristol Rovers. On Wednesday, Derby visit Wycombe Wanderers and Peterborough – who play in the EFL Trophy final against Wycombe on Sunday – host Port Vale. Sixth-placed Lincoln City visit Reading on Saturday while seventh-placed Oxford United are at Burton Albion.

After their long trips to London then Hertfordshire this week, Barnsley are at home on April 13 to Reading who are currently six points clear of the relegation zone in 18th.

The Reds then make a midweek trip to current leaders Portsmouth who are nine points clear in the top two and need seven more from the last five games to go up.

Barnsley’s last away game of the league season is on April 20 at Blackpool who are ninth, six points off the play-offs.

They complete their league fixtures on April 27 at home to mid-table Northampton Town from 12.30pm.

The play-offs will be on May 3 and 7 for third against sixth or May 4 and 8 for fourth against fifth. The play-off final is on May 18.