MARTIN Devaney admits Barnsley have ‘let ourselves down at home’ this season but is hoping they can end the Oakwell campaign on a high against Bolton Wanderers in the first leg of the League One play-off semi-final today.

The sides are due to meet at Oakwell from 7.30pm tonight then in Bolton from 8pm on Tuesday.

The Reds finished sixth on the final day of the season, slipping down a place after a 1-1 home draw with mid-table Northampton Town, as teams below missed the chance to knock them out of the top six. They took two points from their last six games and ten from the most recent 12.

Bolton finished third, 11 points clear of the Reds and unbeaten in seven while they have the best home record in the division but only one win in their last eight away games.

Barnsley finished with the 12th best home record in the division, and 21st best defensive record at home, while they have not won at Oakwell in six games since beating Derby County on February 24. Devaney, who is interim boss after Neill Collins’ sacking last week, told the Chronicle: “At home we’ve let ourselves down. We’re aware of that. We can’t get away from it. We have to make sure we turn Oakwell into a fortress again and get the home win.

“The fans and club will come together with the objective to win a game of football. The guys have been brilliant in training this week. Last week there was a lot of tension about the play-offs.

“But this week the objectives are set and the lads have been really positive.

“It’s helped me.”

He added: “We’re in the play-offs.

“It’s really important everyone comes together and I know they will because this is fantastic football club.

“We will do our utmost to get a result. We were touching distance from automatic but the last ten games didn’t go well. I understand the frustration but we have something to look forward now.”

The Reds conceded 25 goals in their last 12 games, particularly struggling from set pieces in recent weeks.

Devaney told the Chronicle: “I have only had five training sessions. I can’t wave a magic wand. I have tried to get a balance between doing the set pieces, attacking, defending. I feel it’s gone as well as it could have done.”

He added: “The pressure has been off a bit this week and there has been a really good feel factor on the training pitch.”

Devaney was part of the Barnsley team which won the League One play-offs as a player in 2006, defeating Hudddersfield Town in the semi-final and Swansea City on penalties in the final.

“I can draw on it because I know what it’s like and how the players feel. But it’s a platform to express yourselves. You work hard all year to be this close to Wembley and to have these moments.”

Barnsley beat Bolton in the play-off semi-finals last season, when Devaney was a coach under Michael Duff.

The Reds, who finished above Wanderers that season, drew 1-1 away then won 1-0 at home. They have drawn twice in the league this season.

Devaney said: “Last year is gone.

“We have sightly different players, they have as well. The two games we played this year have been really tight.

“We played well against them but Bolton had their moments as well. It’s all set up for an entertaining game

“We seem to have done well against the bigger clubs, so to speak, and we’ll have to do that again

“Bolton are a good side. They finished just outside automatic spots.

“We know each other quite well.

“We know what we need to do.

“I think it will be tight. These are play-offs games and you can never tell.

“It’s just important to start well.

“They are two cup games. The season is done. We are two big games away from Wembley.”

The first leg will be the 50th meeting of the two clubs and, after both games, they will have played nine times in just over 18 months – four in 94 days.

Barnsley have lost just one of the last seven meetings, the 3-0 home defeat in the league last season when Mads Andersen was controversially sent off on ten minutes. The Trotters are unbeaten in 18 league meetings since losing at Oakwell in the Premier League in 1997 – winning eight and drawing ten including both games this season.

They were beaten 2-1 at home to the Reds in the FA Cup last season – thanks to an own goal by Ricardo Santos then an Adam Phillips wonderstrike – then at Oakwell in the play-offs last season.

The winners of Barnsley against Bolton will face Oxford or Peterborough in the final at Wembley on May 18.