Barnsley bid to build on Blackpool success

Sam Winnall celebrates after scoring his second goal for the Reds against Blackpool. ''Picture Dean Atkins
Sam Winnall celebrates after scoring his second goal for the Reds against Blackpool. ''Picture Dean Atkins

Star striker Sam Winnall reckons the Reds have turned a corner and can kick on in 2016.

Barnsley find themselves a point above the drop zone and begin the new year with the visit of Millwall this afternoon.

The Lions smashed Southend 4-0 in their last outing and sit just three points outside the play-off places.

But the Reds hauled themselves out of the drop zone in superb style with a 4-2 victory over Blackpool earlier this week, and Winnall is expecting more of the same today.

“Performances from where we were two months ago to where we are now are chalk and cheese,” said the 24-year-old, who bagged a brace on Monday to take his tally to nine for the season.

“Everyone can see that, not just us players. We believe it’s definitely changed, the staff believe it, and I think the fans can see that as well.

“We were really pleased with the way we played on Monday and hopefully we can take that into the second half of the season.

“We know the challenge that Millwall pose, we had a great result earlier in the year and took three points at The Den which should give us the belief that we can get the three points here at Oakwell.

“We know they’re on a good run of form. They beat Southend 4-0 and they’ll be confident coming here.

“So we’ve just got to do everything we can to end that run of confidence they’re on and get another three points.”

Winnall is the only slight injury doubt for Lee Johnson’s men this afternoon after picking up a knock during the victory over the Seasiders.

But the Reds boss is optimistic that his top scorer will be suitably recovered in time to lead the line at Oakwell.

“He got a series of whacks on the shin,” said Johnson. “He’s the one that could be a possible question mark.

“Hopefully it’s just a kick and it will settle down.”

With nine goals to his name at the halfway stage of the season, Johnson is confident that Winnall will be able to reach 20 come the end of the campaign.

He added: “I think it’s a genuine target for him. He’s a definite finisher and he scores all types of goals.

“He’s brave aerially and he’s clinical. He’s getting chances and that’s the important thing for strikers.

“I think if Sam keeps getting four chances a game he’ll reach the 20 mark.”