BARNSLEY manager Danny Wilson says the last thing he is expecting is an easy ride from Middlesbrough tomorrow despite the Teessiders having nothing, on paper, to play for.
The stakes could not be higher for the Reds in their do-or-die clash at the Riverside Stadium, in marked contrast to the mid-table hosts, who have just pride to attend to.
Evidence that Boro’s season has petered out was in evidence over Easter when they lost out to opponents with different needs for points at either end of the Championship table in Reading and Millwall.
Head coach Aitor Karanka admitted that motivation was an issue, particularly in the loss at Reading, but Wilson is reading nothing into those results.
Wilson, whose side will be relegated if they lose on Teesside, said: “If I was going into the last two games of the season and somebody was asking me if I had nothing to play for, I think I’d punch them on the nose.
“There’s everything to play for, it’s your career. You are a professional footballer and you give everything.
“If that is the approach Middlesbrough have, we will be in for a very tough game. I hope it’s not, but I doubt it very much.”
Wilson is toying with making a calculated gamble regarding Kelvin Etuhu, Jim O’Brien and Ryan McLaughlin, who could feature tomorrow if they come through training this morning, despite not being 100 per cent fit.
Another player who could be in his plans is young striker Danny Rose, recalled early from a loan spell at Bury after scoring three goals in six games as substitute.
Wilson said: “We are giving everyone the chance to throw their hat into the ring.
“I am optimistic we will have one or two added to the squad.
“It will be a gamble in one or two areas and they are not going to be 100 per cent.
“But it has to be a calculated gamble and that we can put the best possible team out there that gives us the best possible chance of winning.”
On Rose, he added: “The level of play is absolutely massive between the Championship and League Two and I hope people appreciate that. But we just feel at this moment in time that a bit of youthful exuberance might just give us a little bit of a lift that we need.
“We need more bodies to be able to choose from and it’s a case of more the merrier.
“It could well be we get more back than we expected, which will be a big bonus.
“We want as many players back as we possibly can and Danny comes into that equation.”