Barnsley’s talismanic midfielder Josh Brownhill asserted that this weekend’s South Yorkshire derby against Sheffield United is the biggest game of the Reds’ season.
The midfielder has made 21 appearances since joining the Reds on loan from Preston North End in January, scoring once.
Brownhill hopes that despite its significance, the South Yorkshire derby can boost the Reds’ chances of finishing in a play-off spot on May 7.
He said: “Of the teams we have left to play, this is probably the biggest game of the season.
“It’s massive for fans and us, it’ll be huge if we can get three points and having the bragging rights that come with a derby game.
“I think we’ll have to win every game to make it to the play-offs. We have tough matches remaining but this is probably the biggest.”
Last season, the midfielder netted a free-kick against the Blades in a 2-1 defeat whilst playing for Preston and is expecting the same levels of performance from this weekend’s opponents.
Brownhill added that the Reds may have more to lose but that they will stop at nothing to achieve a spot in the top six.
“Of the two of us, honestly, we are under more pressure,” he admitted. “We want to be in the play-offs, that’s our main aim and if we win this we’re really close to being there.
“I’ve played them a few times in the past and I know they’re really hardworking with lots of ability but I think we have a better squad with the players we have in form.
“We have a good bunch of lads here and we’re working hard every day. It proves if you work hard and do what you do right in training, it shows on pitch and it has for us.”
Brownhill’s impact on the side has been profound and he has been the orchestrator of a number of attacks and chances since his arrival.
Considering the Reds were languishing close to the relegation zone when he joined, Brownhill feels that everything between now and the end of the season is a bonus in the Reds’ season.
He added: “It’s a massive turnaround from where we were to where we are which is a big achievement in itself. All the lads know they should be in the play-offs and that was our aim.
“Now we’ve got there or thereabouts, we want to keep going and get in there.”
Brownhill came in as cover for Josh Scowen, who was out injured after suffering a knee problem, but quickly established himself in the side.
Since Scowen’s return to full fitness, Brownhill feels there has been increased competition between the two for a starting place and is grateful to have continue to receive the nod.
He said: “When I first came he was injured and I came in and played. The manager stuck by me but when he came back I realised he’s a really good player and I must have been doing well to keep him out of the side.
“It was only going to be a matter of time before he was going to get his chance again and he’s taken that at right-back. He can play everywhere and I feel it’s better when he’s in the team because he’s a great player.
“Me and him get on well and there’s friendly competition between the two of us and it’s a good little rivalry we have.
The midfielder arrived at Oakwell having only played a handful of games for parent club Preston this season but added that he is learning more every day with the Reds.
“I feel I’m getting better and learning every game. There’s a few more games left yet and hopefully I can play some more good football until the end of the season,” he added.