After three long months without football, the wait is almost over as the Reds return to action this weekend at Queens Park Rangers.
It won’t be the same, of course, without our band of loyal supporters to cheer us on our way, but ahead of the game, Gerhard Struber spoke with the local press to give his thoughts on the resumption of the 2019/20 Sky Bet Championship campaign.
Our Head Coach has had three weeks to try and prepare his side for the remaining nine fixtures as the Reds look to secure the necessary points to avoid the drop when the final whistle blows in 34 days’ time.
However, the Austrian is confident ahead of our trip to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium that Barnsley can claim a positive result that could act as a springboard to success.
“I have a good feeling; we had three weeks training and two weeks together team training with one friendly game,” began Struber. “Right now, we have a good energy and I think the self-motivation from every player is on a good level.
“The match plan against QPR is smart and the most important thing in this moment is that every single player is healthy and is looking forward to playing with a good energy together – I’m looking forward to it and I’m happy that we can begin our restart.
“We waited a long time for the restart and right now we have the chance to get a good performance and, in the end, hopefully a good result.”
With games set to come thick and fast in the next five weeks and match sharpness not at the levels they were pre-lockdown, there will be extra emphasis on utilising as many players within the squad as possible.
Rotation could be crucial between now and the final day at Brentford on 22 July in order to keep players as fresh as possible, with the added benefit of two additional substitutions on a matchday.
“This is the challenge in the next few weeks,” admitted Struber. “It’s my responsibility to plan the training sessions with the right loads and that every single player is ready in the game.
“We have the possibility to change five players and this is helpful in this difficult time with so many games, but I think, at the moment, every single player is ready and sharp and I think this is a good signal.”
There are 27 points left to play for and, as we have seen on a few occasions this season, the Reds are capable of putting morale-boosting runs together to claw their way out of trouble.
A similar effort is required once more and Struber insists his side will have to be focussed from the first whistle in order to achieve their goals at the end of the campaign.
“We have no time to lose; we have a big aim together,” continued the Reds’ Head Coach. “There is a good spirit in the team in a difficult time and every player knows we have to bring a good performance from the first second.
“We need to show our opponent that it is difficult to play against Barnsley. We have a big chance when we stick to our goal and have the right balance in our match plan and self-motivation.”