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Mowatt: "It's a massive game for us."

15 March 2019

Alex Mowatt is urging Barnsley to make it seven points from a possible nine this week when the Reds travel to Doncaster Rovers for the South Yorkshire derby on Friday evening.

Last weekend’s victory over Accrington Stanley was followed by a hard-fought draw at home to promotion rivals Sunderland in midweek, and another three points at the Keepmoat Stadium would see Daniel Stendel’s side tighten their grip on second place.

“If we get three points here, we look at this week and think what a week it’s been,” insisted Mowatt.“Then we’ve got a couple of days off and we go again at Walsall, so it’s a massive game for us and one that I think we need to win.

“We were pleased to come away with a point [against Sunderland], but I think from that game we wanted the three points and, with the way we played – dominating the first half – I thought we deserved more than a point.

“But it’s a good point for us against a tough team and in tough conditions, so we’ll take it and, if we can get a win on Friday it’ll be a good week for us.”

Barnsley have kept five consecutive clean sheets and ten since embarking on this 17-game unbeaten run back in December.

The centre-back pairing of Ethan Pinnock and Liam Lindsay have been instrumental at the heart of the Reds’ defence, but they will have to be at their best to keep John Marquis at bay on Friday evening.

Doncaster’s talisman is Sky Bet League One’s second top scorer with 18 goals to his name this season – just two shy of Luton Town’s James Collins.

“I think with Ethan and Liam you feel so safe with them at the back – you never feel like you’re going to concede and I think they’ve been outstanding this season, I’d say the best two centre backs in the league,” continued Mowatt.

“They allow us to go forward and the full-backs are able to get forward, too, because we feel so safe with the centre-backs that it allows others to attack. We get back in numbers and everyone does their fair share of defending as well.

“All the defence have been really good – especially Davo; he’s been class lately, so there’s been no better way to show how good they’ve been than five clean sheets in a row.”

The reverse fixture finished 1-1 at Oakwell back in November, with Cauley Woodrow cancelling out Herbie Kane’s opener.

It was perhaps one of Barnsley’s sternest tests this campaign, and Mowatt is anticipating another gruelling encounter when the two sides go head to head at the Keepmoat.

“We think that Doncaster are one of the best teams we’ve played this season – if not the best – so it’s going to be a tough game at their place,” said the Reds’ midfielder.“They like to play football, so I think it’ll be a good game.

“Hopefully the conditions will be better than Tuesday night, but we’re excited for the game and it’s on TV as well, so it’s good for both teams.

“It’s a derby and it’s a massive game for us with where we are in the league, so we need to keep pushing on and hopefully we can get a win.”

You can watch Alex’ full press conference on iFollow Barnsley.

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