Reds Manager David Flitcroft met with the media ahead of Saturday’s home match with Watford in the Skybet Championship.
Barnsley ground out a 1-0 victory over the Hornets last season thanks to Bobby Hassell’s first-half header but Gianfranco Zola’s side are looking to go one further this season and earn promotion.
“I thought the end of last when they didn’t go up they’d lose that rhythm but they’ve got back into that rhythm,” said Flitcroft.
“They’ll keep progressing. They’re a good team and they’re, progressively, getting better. It’s going to be a tough task but it’s certainly one I believe we can get something out of.
“My group of players, man to man, have to be on top of their game.
“We can’t have an 80 per cent performance.
“We certainly know where we need to be come Saturday. It’s a game with a lot of disappointment hanging over it because we’ve had five hours on a coach going through a game on our way back from Bournemouth.
“The only way you can put hurt right is to get back on it and we’ll do that on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Flitcroft is hopeful Tomasz Cywka, Stephen Dawson and Jim O’Brien will pull through but striker Marcus Pedersen is definitely out although should be back for the clash at Leicester City in a week’s time.
“We’re nearly full strength,” continued Flitcroft. “People like Paddy McCourt has been getting good game time with the 21s, we’ve been giving lads catch-up game-time.
“Tomasz Cywka’s carrying one (injury), Jim O’Brien’s carrying one – we’re nursing them through it. We’ve got Daws (Stephen Dawson) who took a whack to his eye.
“But we’ve got a squad that’s healthy at the minute. But they all have a fighting chance.”
Goalkeeper Luke Steele made the return to the side on Tuesday to make his 200th appearance for the Reds, as Mike Pollitt returned to parent club Wigan with a groin injury.
“Mike went back to Wigan on Sunday. He felt something in his groin. His kicking was 10 to 15 meters short during the last 15 minutes of the game at Forest.
“Polly will be out for four maybe five weeks.”