Jacob Brown is adamant that there is enough quality within the Barnsley squad to win the necessary points in order to beat the drop this season.
The Reds head to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday for their first game in three months after football was suspended following the Coronavirus pandemic, and victory at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium will provide a timely morale boost ahead of a gruelling schedule.
There have been flashes of brilliance and memorable moments during a tough campaign – some of which have come in the capital, with crucial victories at Millwall and Fulham the standout displays.
“The main thing for us this season is we’ve not really been as consistent as we should have been,” admitted Brown. “If you look at some of the performances we’ve put in, we’ve been a really good team for a number of games but, in this league, you get punished when you’re not at your best and if we’re not at 100% in a certain game we’d probably get found out.
“But we’re coming into the last nine games now knowing we need to take each one as it comes, hopefully get the three points and move onto the next one.
“For us, it’s now or never – there’s only nine games left and each is a must win. There’s teams that might be midtable with nothing to play for, so they could be thinking differently. But, either way, you’re not going to be going out there thinking ‘I don’t want to win this game’, it’s still going to be just as tough as it was before.”
English football returned on Wednesday evening with two live Premier League games on Sky Sports, while the Football League also resumed last night as Cheltenham Town and Colchester United took control of their respective League Two play-off semi-finals.
Football without supporters is strange and will be for some time. The option of crowd noise does add an extra element to the viewing experience, but Brown says it will be surreal to have no supporters in the stadium this weekend.
“I watched both the games [on Wednesday] and, obviously, it was good to have the football back but it just seemed a bit weird,” continued the Reds’ forward. “I started watching the game with the crowd background noise on and that made it a bit more normal, but when you watched it without the sound, knowing we’ll be doing that on Saturday, it is going to be a different challenge.
“When you’ve got the fans there motivating you, that’s an extra bit of motivation so, as players, we’re going to have to have that internal motivation to help us perform as best we can.
“You’ve just got to try and do your best and, because of the situation we’re in, we’re not going to be struggling for motivation in these last nine games. But it definitely makes a difference not having fans there cheering you on – even when you’re at an away ground; it can be quite intimidating when there’s thousands of fans there backing the opposition.
“So, it’s going to be a different scenario, but it’s still a game of football and everyone wants to go out to win.”