Barnsley FC undeterred by doubts; Portsmouth eye promotion party.
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Barnsley FC undeterred by doubts; Portsmouth eye promotion party.



Barnsley have a handful of injury concerns to deal with ahead of Tuesday’s League One game against Portsmouth, but boss Neill Collins maintains there is no danger of trying to keep people out of the playoffs.

The Reds are still a win away from achieving that, but if Portsmouth secures the point required for promotion, Lincoln City could still be eliminated if they fail to win at sixth-placed Oxford United.

After two wins in the last nine, Collins is more concerned with momentum than league tables as he assesses minor injuries to Jon Russell and Luca Connell.

“As you can imagine with Jon, he came off early on Saturday so less than 48 hours after that we’re still just assessing the extent of that,” he went on to say. “Luca’s was on Friday, so not much longer. Both will be late judgments on Tuesday night.

“Ultimately, we will always do what we believe is best for the team. Sometimes it’s short-term, sometimes it’s long-term, but at this point in the season, you can’t think beyond the next game.

“We’ll take it day by day with these injuries and make the best judgments possible with our physio staff.

“We’ll gather together and select the best method based on our joint understanding, but the player ultimately has a large say in what they believe they can and cannot achieve.

“I will select the squad that I believe is most placed to win the game. I’m not thinking about the playoffs at all; instead, I’m focusing on the next league game. The difficulty comes from missing important players.

“If they were available they’d play because they’d want to play and we want to put out our strongest team but with the issues we’ve got we need to look at alternatives and that might bring up something we’ve not previously thought of, which could be a positive.”

Josh Benson will undoubtedly be absent following the latest injury in a season packed with them for him.

“He’s had a really tough time,” Collins added. “He’s out with what we believe is a minor injury.

“When you look at his record this year, it’s difficult to see. We anticipated he could make a significant contribution this season, and although that is still conceivable, it is not ideal for Josh.

Portsmouth will win the title with two games remaining if they win at Fratton Park, but this might work in Barnsley’s benefit. Pompey squandered the opportunity to secure promotion at the weekend.

“You watch the football across the weekend, starting Friday night (when then-Championship leaders Leicester City lost at relegation-threatened Plymouth Argyle) and getting across the line is so difficult,” he remarked. “It’s so difficult to do anything in sports.

“We have to go there for ourselves, but given how difficult it is, make it as difficult as possible for them and see where that leads us.

“It can get annoying quickly, but their fans will be right behind them, and they have demonstrated all season that they will be promoted. “I just hope it isn’t on Tuesday night.”



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