Dale Tonge is anticipating a tricky game when Barnsley travel to Walsall this weekend.
The Saddlers are currently in the Sky Bet League One drop zone after a poor run of form that has seen Dean Keates’ side win just three of their last 17 games – 12 of which were defeats.
“It’s a good opportunity to get three points but, at the same time, we understand that Walsall have just dropped into the relegation zone so it’s a big game for them and we’re going to expect the best Walsall,” said Tonge.
“Thinking back to the game here; they were excellent and made it really difficult for us – they scored late and, as a team, they’re one of the toughest that we’ve played. They were outstanding on the day. We’ve spoken about it this week; how they played and the shape they set up with – they made it difficult for us to play in terms of possession.
“They’ve done OK against the top teams but had a mixed run of form of late, so we’ll take them on the day and it’s up to us to work out how to beat them.”
The Reds head into the game at lunchtime on Saturday looking to extend their unbeaten run to 19 games as the season starts to reach its climax.
And Tonge believes that the players will be refreshed and raring to go at the Banks’s Stadium after having a prolonged break following a hectic domestic schedule.
“The boys have had the weekend off, which was fully deserved given the week they’d had prior,” continued the Reds’ Assistant. “They’ve had a good bit of downtime and were back in on Wednesday looking fresh and sharp.
“Ultimately, we have to do our thing – we know that if we win both our games it’ll put pressure on Sunderland. We’ve got to win our games – if we don’t do that then it’s irrelevant. We’ll focus on us and what will be will be.
“Our goal is to win every game and what happens at the end of the season will be just rewards for where we finish.”
This will be the third Barnsley fixture this month (and fourth this season) that has been shown live on Sky Sports, with the Reds unbeaten in their previous broadcasts.
“It’s great to get the recognition on Sky and it’s something that the boys deserve,” insisted Tonge. “A lot of the football has been lauded about this season, and I think it’s fully deserved.
“The Friday game was very tough and I thought Doncaster play very well, but we came into the game and, with a very stretched squad, performed very well and came out with a clean sheet.”
You can watch Dale’s full press conference on iFollow Barnsley.