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Tonge: "This game has extra significance."

18 February 2019

Dale Tonge is anticipating a tough encounter when Burton Albion visit Oakwell on Tuesday evening.

The Brewers are unbeaten in their last five Sky Bet League One away games – drawing three and winning two since a 2-0 defeat at Luton Town back in December.

However, Barnsley are aiming to make it seven consecutive victories at home and tighten their grip on the automatic promotion spot as we head into the business end of the season.

“Nigel Clough has got a team that is very hard working; they’re honest, have that desire and represent him well,” said Tonge. “Wherever he’s been, in terms of his clubs, all of his teams perform the same way and we expect nothing other than a very tough game on Tuesday.

“In terms of how they play, we know how they’ll be out of possession and how they’ll work – they’ll work their socks off. We understand how difficult this game is going to be.”

In the absence of Kieffer Moore, Reds frontman Cauley Woodrow will be looking to add to his ever-growing goal tally.

The summer signing from Fulham had a difficult start to his Barnsley career with a niggling injury, but hit the ground running and immediately become one of Daniel Stendel’s key players.

“He’s become a bit of a talisman,” continued Tonge. “Him and Kieffer have struck up a good partnership but, with Cauley playing on his own now and boys coming in with him, it’s time to start a new partnership. He’s well into double figures now for his goals and hopefully that will continue.

“He’s a class act and a very good player for this level. We all feel he can go higher – obviously his performance will dictate how high he goes – but we expect that to be with this club come the end of the season.

“We’ve got some very good players here and the boys, in terms of training and games, are champing at the bit ready to get their minutes. I think it was evident at the weekend, obviously Cauley is playing regularly, but Mike Bähre was outstanding in terms of what he did in and out of possession. So we’ve got boys ready to come in.”

Tuesday’s fixture was originally scheduled for Saturday 22 September but, due to extenuating circumstances, was postponed shortly after kick-off.

Long-serving volunteer Stephen Croft suddenly collapsed pitch side and received urgent medical attention that, ultimately, saved his life, and Tonge believes you cannot underestimate the importance of this fixture for Barnsley Football Club.

“Obviously this game has an extra bit of significance because of Stephen and we’re going to be doing a lot of fundraising for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance,” said the Reds Assistant. “It costs well over £10,000 a day to run, so it’s a big game not just for us as a team but as a club; Stephen represents the club and does things for free as a volunteer, and volunteers within this club are priceless.”

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

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