With Barnsley chasing play-offs ahead of Wednesday night’s encounter at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, I spoke to Barnsley fan Carlo van de Watering from Reds Report about the Tykes’ season so far, and their chances of sneaking into the play-offs.
Firstly Carlo, how has Barnsley’s season been?
Carlo: After a poor start under previous head coach Gerhard Struber Barnsley showed little of the exciting football that earned them Championship safety on the last day. No wins in the first 7 games and just 3 draws made it look like another difficult season was ahead. Since Ismael took over in October there has been a significant upturn in results and Barnsley now find themselves in the hunt for a play off place
How have some key players been for you this term?
Carlo: It is hard to pinpoint any one player. The whole team is playing well and are “in form”. If I have to put the spotlight on 1 player then that is Michal Helik. The previously unheard of Polish defender has been an absolute rock at the back and has contributed with 5 goals overall. But others such as Brittain, Styles, Woodrow, Mowatt and Morris all deserve a mention
From an unbiased point of view, how would you rate your chances of sneaking into the play-offs this term?
Carlo: It is a given that between now and the end of the season we will lose some matches. The key for now is that we still have the bottom 7 teams in the table to play and given our strength in depth and unity under Ismael I think that a place in the playoffs is a realistic target for this young Barnsley side.
Who have your 3 best players been this season?
Carlo: Really difficult to pick just 3. Helik, Styles and Mowatt for me. They’ve all been extremely hard working and displaying Championship pedigree. Mowatt has been integral in that midfield and is a true captain on and off the pitch.
Who are your weak links in the team?
Carlo: There are no weak players, what I will say is that at times we don’t stick to our game plan of high intensity & high press and our passing rate (especially in the final 3rd) is not good enough. That will create chances for the opposition.
How do you see Wednesday night going?
Carlo: Loftus Road was, for years, a real bogey place for us. Under Struber and the restart of the season last year we broke that spell. QPR are in a bit of good form themselves and this won’t be an easy match. If we are able to execute our game plan this won’t be an easy match for QPR. Barnsley are going for 6 wins in 6 and confidence is high. 2-1 win for Barnsley.
And finally, looking beyond Wednesday night, how do you see the rest of the season panning out for Barnsley?
Carlo: Valerian Ismael is not only a brilliant tactician but is able to get the best out of this young Barnsley side. Initially the target was to get to 50 points, that has now been achieved. He’ll have now set the team a target for the month of March. I would expect us to still be in the top 10 come the end of this month and in the mix for a play off place at the end of the season.
Thanks to Carlo van de Watering (@RedsReport_ on Twitter) for doing this interview.
For Barnsley, Ben Williams is the sole absentee as far as I am aware.
For QPR, Tom Carroll remains out, Jordy de Wijs is not fit in time to face Barnsley but could travel to Bristol City on Saturday. Lee Wallace missed Saturday’s defeat with a knock. Luke Amos remains the club’s sole long term absentee.
Barnsley are on a roll, having won 5 in a row coming into this one. They sit just 1 point outside the top six.
QPR lost their last match 2-1 against Birmingham City. Prior to that, we had lost just two matches out of the previous 12.
Come on you R’s!
Written by Lukas Ross