Barnsley: Misfiring Reds primed for derby challenge

Jean Yves M'voto, left, could be recalled to the starting line-up following his ban.
Jean Yves M'voto, left, could be recalled to the starting line-up following his ban.

Barnsley boss David Flitcroft has stressed it is now time to “sink or swim” for his misfiring side.

The Reds have yet to win in the Championship this season and have leaked an alarming 17 goals in six fixtures in all competitions.

“It doesn’t worry me trying to raise the morale,” said Flitcroft. “Football is like life. You either sink or swim, or you’re a victim or you’re not. I certainly won’t have anybody being victims.

“I’ve got two very good people around me in [assistant manager] Micky Mellon and [first team coach] Martin Scott. They’ll lift me and then it’s out job to life the players.

“The one’s [players] who want to fight will fight, but the ones that don’t won’t have any bearing on me. I’m not interested in seeing any victims.

“It can be a lonely place when you concede a lot of goals. But it’s how I react now with the group of players and what they see from me leading them.”

The arrival of Yorkshire derby rivals Huddersfield Town to Oakwell this weekend - with the added spice of the return of former boss Mark Robins and ex-player Adam Hammill - is probably just the game the Reds are looking for.

The form book is usually thrown out of the window for derby fixtures. And the Reds will hope so with the on-song Terriers having won four of their last five games in all competitions.

“I’ll certainly be positive and we’ll get a competitive game plan in place for Huddersfield,” stressed Flitcroft, who dropped first-choice keeper Luke Steele for the club’s 5-1 midweek Capital One Cup second round defeat to Premier League Southampton.

“We’ve got to reset quicker and make sure two goals doesn’t turn into three or four. There’s a lot of work we’ve got to do, but I certainly felt we could have

“We’ve got to look forward now. I can’t afford to keep picking the bones out of games; we’ve got to start picking points up now in the league. It [the Championship] is our fix and where we need to be.

“I’m hoping some of the anger and frustration I field can be turned into controlled aggression and result in a very good performance against Huddersfield.”

Midfielder David Perkins could return to the starting line-up having missed the defeat to Saints with a dead leg, but fellow midfielder Kelvin Etuhu is a doubt having tweaked his hamstring on Tuesday night.

Defender Martin Cranie remains sidelined with a knee injury, but new signing Paddy McCourt is pushing for his first start and French centre-back Jean-Yves M’voto returns from a one-match ban for his red card picked up against Rovers at Ewood Park last Saturday.