Dale Tonge is urging Barnsley to approach the last five fixtures with a positive mindset in order to finish the Sky Bet League One campaign strongly.
The Reds have fallen behind Sunderland in the race for automatic promotion, but there are still plenty of twists and turns to come before the season draws to a close on May 4.
However, Tonge says the atmosphere in training has been optimistic despite last weekend’s defeat at Burton Albion, with the players raring to take to the field against Fleetwood Town on Saturday.
“It’s been a really positive week,” insisted the Reds’ Assistant. “I think a lot of people might have made assumptions about what might be happening with us, but the players have been excellent in the last few days and the attitude in the camp has been really positive, and it’s been great to see.
“The recent form, I think we can all be honest and say it’s not been our best but, at the same time, we remained unbeaten. But now that monkey is off our back, if there was ever a time to lose it was last weekend and I think, from our point of view, it now gives us incentive and hopefully can create better momentum going into the last few games.
“It’s out of our hands, we understand that. A lot of people are talking about the pressure – yes, there was pressure on us – and I think we had two massive clubs behind us. One’s above us now, one can go above us and I think that can be another catalyst to say the pressure is off, let’s just go and perform, play our game and attack these last five games.”
The Cod Army travel to Oakwell on the back of a 2-2 draw at home to Southend United last week – twice coming from behind to snatch a share of the spoils.
Joey Barton’s side are currently 11th in the table and, despite it still being mathematically possible for four of 15 teams to go down, appear in no real danger of being dragged into a relegation scrap.
However, Fleetwood can still have a big say in the promotion battle; as well as Saturday’s encounter with Barnsley, they also host Sunderland at the end of April.
“We understand that it’s a freak season in terms of League One and that potentially 90 points might not get you up this year,” continued Tonge. “But, at the same time, we’re confident that if we win all of our games, we’ve got a very good chance of going up.
“Fleetwood are a team that loves to play football; they’ve tweaked their style ever so slightly and gone to three at the back recently and got the results, so that’s something we assume they’re going to be playing.
“They’re a very positive team with good attacking players who have got experience like Wallace, Evans and Madden who are proven goal scorers, so we know they’re going to be a big threat.”
You can watch Dale's full press conference on iFollow Barnsley.