Barnsley are aiming to continue their promotion push when they travel to Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
The Reds were unable to put defeat against Coventry a fortnight ago behind them following last week’s traumatic events at Oakwell, but Assistant Head Coach Andreas Winkler is thrilled that our dedicated volunteer Stephen Croft is on the road to recovery.
“It’s the best news of the week that Stephen is still with us and now we can look forward to seeing him back in Oakwell soon,” said Winkler. “It’s more important than anything in the world.
“When we heard that they had brought him back, everyone in the dressing room was clapping and this was the only thing that we wanted to hear.”
Fleetwood are currently tenth in Sky Bet League One – three places and two points behind the Reds, who subsequently have a game in hand on their promotion rivals.
However, Joey Barton’s side come into this clash with Barnsley on the back of a 1-0 defeat at Southend United where the Cod Army picked up their second league red card of the campaign – and third in all competitions.
“I saw them at Scunthorpe – Daniel and I went to the game,” continued Winkler. “They’re a very good side with an aggressive style manager, so the players are also aggressive. They have lots of individual quality, so we’re expecting a strong team.
“We expect a tough match, so we have solutions for every option – if they stay deep or if they press us high. It’s been 10 or 12 weeks since we started, so we have improved ourselves in different plays, ball possession, finishing and creating chances.”
The Reds were able to field a number of first team players for the U23s against Nottingham Forest on Monday evening, with Jared Bird, Zeki Fryers, Ryan Hedges, Cameron McGeehan and Ben and Jordan Williams all gaining valuable game time in Alfreton.
Competition for places is fierce once more with those out injured returning to full fitness, and it is a selection conundrum that the coaching staff are looking forward to solving as the season goes on.
“Six players played with the under 23s on Monday,” said the Reds’ Assistant. “They lost 3-0, but I’ve seen the video clip and they did a really good job. Match fitness is really important, so Cameron, Zeki and Ryan got some game time, improved their shape and we now have more options for Saturday and a full squad for training.”