“The Challenge For Us Is…” – Barnsley Boss Sets Target

Barnsley manager Neill Collins has challenged his squad to stop going behind in games ahead of Saturday’s League One clash with Charlton Athletic.

The Tykes are searching for a third successive league win as they look to keep the heat on the top six. They currently sit in seventh, two points behind Derby County in the final play-off spot. The Rams host a Wycombe Wanderers team that can’t stop losing and Barnsley know that three points is a must at Oakwell.

Collins’ side beat the Chairboys themselves a fortnight ago and followed that up with an impressive 3-1 away victory at Reading last weekend. However, the Berkshire outfit did take an early lead that left Barnsley having to come from behind, a theme which has been common in recent weeks.

The South Yorkshire side had to battle baack from a losing position twice to salvage a draw against Fleetwood Town at the end of October, whilst an early penalty against Lincoln City last month was cancelled out by Barry Cotter and John McAtee before Timothy Eyoma struck late to rescue a point for the Imps.

It isn’t just in the league where the problems keep occurring and non-league Horsham almost produced a stunning FA Cup shock when they took a 2-1 first half lead before Fabio Jalo levelled just before half time. Barnsley did regain the lead before conceding a late equaliser to take the tie to a replay.

The manager is keen to rectify these issues ahead of their promotion push, where he will be keen to go one better than his predecessor Michael Duff, who guided the team to the League One play-off final last season. Speaking to official club media, the former Sunderland and Sheffield United man said:

“If you’re going to be a top team that wants to achieve anything I think you just have to be able to come from behind. You watch all the top teams, no matter how good they are, from time to time they find themselves behind.

“You should then be able to rectify that. I think I mentioned it but the team have shown some really good resilience recently, came from behind twice against Fleetwood, should have really gone on and got the winner. Lincoln, we should have held on to win that game.

“The challenge for us is to stop going behind as often as we have been so that we can score the first goal and take the game on from there. It’s definitely a big boost for the players to know that we can do that and do it so convincingly was really positive.”

Charlton travel to Yorkshire unbeaten in five league outings and full of confidence as they continue to recover from their slow start to the season.

Writer’s View

Barnsley were one of the pre-season favourites to achieve promotion this season and Neill Collins has done a great job in keeping them in contention. By and large, their defensive record is steady, but they have still conceded 21 goals in 19 games thus far.

Out of all the teams currently occupying a top six place, only Oxford United have conceded more and the manager is right to challenge his squad to focus on this area. Charlton will be a stern test, but the final result should give the Tykes a good idea of where they are and what they may need to potentially strengthen next month.

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