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26 February 2021

Heading into our Sky Bet Championship clash with Millwall this weekend, Valérien Ismaël says he is anticipating a difficult encounter with Gary Rowett’s play-off chasing side.

The Lions travel to Oakwell in decent form; unbeaten in their last nine matches since succumbing to defeat at Nottingham Forest last month.

Barnsley, meanwhile, are on a run of four consecutive wins and five points better off than the south-east London outfit having played a game less.

“It will be a fight with intense duels,” began Ismaël. “We will need to show a big mentality to enjoy the fight – it will be important to be clinical because we will have our chance to score and we have to do it.

“At the same time, on set-pieces and on the ball in our box, we have to be clinical in our defence because Millwall are very strong in transition and set-pieces. We have to be very good in this area.”

Having guided the Reds to a lofty eighth position in the table with 15 fixtures remaining, some might suggest that Ismaël might soon start diverting his attentions to a potential promotion bid.

However, our Head Coach is adamant in his assertions that his sole focus remains on securing Barnsley’s safety and reaching that coveted 50-point tally.

“We do our job and keep moving on the table,” he continued. “For me, it’s not a big focus at the moment; there’s a long way to go and too many games, and I think we have to think step by step.

“The first step is to reach the 50-point line because it’s a big challenge for us and I said when I first came here that I wanted to be safe as soon as possible. This is the first chance to get the job done and this is the only way I am thinking with the guys. It will be a tough game, but we have to prepare and show the desire now to finish the job.”

You can watch Valérien’s press conference on iFollow Barnsley.

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