NEILL Collins acknowledges Barnsley’s recent results are ‘not good enough’ but believes they will soon rediscover their form from earlier in the season and secure a top six place.

The Reds, with four league games left, are fifth in League One, nine points off second-placed Derby County with their chances of automatic promotion extinguished realistically if not quite mathematically yet.

They are six clear in the top six but the two sides below them Oxford United and Lincoln City are on much better form.

Barnsley currently need at least 80 points to guarantee a place in the top six, and are now on 74.

They have collected just eight points from their last eight games.

This week they lost 2-1 at Charlton Athletic on Saturday then by the same scoreline at Stevenage on Tuesday.

They are now due to host Reading tomorrow before travelling to leaders Portsmouth on Tuesday.

Collins told the Chronicle: “There is no getting away from the fact that the recent run of results, especially with the fixtures we have had, has not been good enough. But we’ve been extremely consistent prior to that and I think we will get that consistency back.

“If you look at those games, there have been things that are unfortunate.

“We have been the victims of our own mistakes. We need to make sure we get those things right and don’t blow everything out of proportion.”

On securing a place in the top six, Collins told the Chronicle: “We just want to win every game. When we don’t, it’s disappointing. The last couple of results are far from what we’ve wanted.

“We want points on the board to secure our position. If we get a win against Reading it will make us all feel better and make the league table look at lot better.”

He added: “Everyone felt automatic was in our grasp until the last three or four games but our form has meant we couldn’t capitalise. That brings a certain level of disappointment.

“Now we need to go and win a game on Saturday and put ourselves in a good position to achieve our objectives from the start of the season but maybe in a slightly different fashion.”

Captain Jordan Williams, top-scorer Devante Cole and regular starters Herbie Kane and Nicky Cadden are all out of contract in the summer. The futures of loanees John McAtee, Liam Roberts and Jamie McCart are unclear.

Is that much uncertainty a distraction?

Collins told the Chronicle: “It could be a factor when you have seven or eight guys who might not be here. But I don’t think it’s been a factor at all.

“Our loan players have been 100 per cent committed and fantastic, and our out of contract players have been mainstays in the team. Herbie and Devante came on the other night and showed a great attitude. They are all really committed to getting this team out of the division. That says a lot when they are out of contract. It’s beneficial for us as a club and them as individuals.”

Collins knows his side must improve defensively.

“We’re conceding cheap goals. There is no specific pattern. Can we stay more focused in games under pressure and when feeling a little anxious?

“Individually we can get a little bit more out of certain players.

“This time of the season feels so important so there is more anxiety.

“We’ve maybe not dealt with that in some moments as well as we could have.

“I never felt our team has lacked experience this season. But at this stage it’s when your ability to handle the anxiety and added pressure is the most important. We have to try to help the players with that. I think we can.”

Barnsley play their last away game on April 20 at Blackpool who are eighth, three points off the top six.

They complete the season on April 27 at home to mid-table Northampton.