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Tonge: "You'd rather have the points."

4 April 2019

Dale Tonge is looking for the Reds to maintain their consistent performances in the final six games of the Sky Bet League One campaign.

Barnsley are in a strong position to secure an immediate return to the Championship courtesy of a 20-game unbeaten streak, and Tonge insists that the players aren’t being affected by any pressure surrounding the promotion race.

“I think the biggest thing is to be consistent and not change what we’ve done all season, keep consistent with the messages and training in terms of what we’re asking them,” said the Reds’ Assistant. “This so-called pressure that people are talking about isn’t evident, and nothing has changed.”

Last weekend’s draw against Coventry City saw Barnsley increase the gap to the chasing pack, although Sunderland’s midweek victory over Accrington Stanley has seen the Black Cats move within touching distance of the top two.

However, Tonge insists that he prefers to have points on the board rather than the burden of playing catch-up at the business end of a gruelling season.

“You’d rather have the points because we’ve got them now – they’ve still to get those points and they’ve still got tough games to come,” he continued. “It’s even more important that we continue to do our job. I think the quality of League One this year – especially at the top – is at a very high level.

“We understand that we’ve had too many draws in the last few games, so we’re expecting that teams are going to perform and get three points. It’s up to us now to get maximum points as much as we can in these next six games.”

Up next for the Reds is a trip Burton Albion on Saturday as Daniel Stendel’s side look to stretch this incredible unbeaten run to 21 matches.

The Brewers ground out a 0-0 draw in South Yorkshire six weeks ago, but Barnsley will be hoping for a repeat of the last time they visited the Pirelli Stadium when they secured an emphatic 4-2 win.

“It’ll be a tough challenge – Nigel Clough always has his teams up for big games; they understand the importance of every game,” said Tonge. “Nigel is a tough character and his teams identify with that. They’re a hard-working group and, at the weekend, they scored five goals so they’re going to be high on confidence and a massive threat.

“I think they’ve been a lot more expansive in home games and more attack-minded, as you’d expect. We’re expecting them to be on the front-foot instead of like when they came here and, hopefully, we can have a bit more quality in the final third this time.”

You can watch Dale’s full press conference on iFollow Barnsley.

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