Flitcroft predicts hefty points tally for safety

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DAVID FLITCROFT feels the safety target for Championship clubs to survive this term will be over 50 points.

The Reds head into today’s game with relegation rivals Bristol City as the form side in the division following a remarkable renaissance which has seen them win their last six games in all competitions and eight of their 10 matches under Flitcroft’s watch.

The magical run has propelled Barnsley out of the drop zone, but hardly able to rest on their laurels with the likes of bottom two Peterborough United and Bristol City also plucking out results in what is a wholly unpredictable division.

As it stands, just eight points separate the bottom nine and Flitcroft is expecting plenty more twists and turns between now and the end of the season.

He said: “It will take over 50 points to stay up, without a shadow of a doubt.

“The thing I love is that everyone had the bottom three down – us, Peterborough and Bristol City –not so long ago. But it has not happened and everyone is fighting for their football lives and futures. I think teams above us took their eyes off that and just assumed we would go down. But we have not accepted it.”

If the footballing fates had played out differently, Robins manager Sean O’Driscoll could have been leading out Barnsley at Ashton Gate this afternoon, but he instead preferred to bide his time and wait for what he perceived as the right opportunity to come along after turning down the Oakwell post last month.

That ultimately proved very much Flitcroft’s gain, although the Reds chief is also unequivocal that the ex-Doncaster and Nottingham Forest chief would have been a terrific appointment if he had taken on the job.

Flitcroft, who could hand a debut to loan midfielder Ryan Tunnicliffe – signed from Manchester United on Thursday – with Scott Golbourne out for the rest of the season after undergoing an operation to repair torn knee ligaments, added: “Sean is a superb manager. After what he did at Forest, if any manager has been let down this season, it is him. When I didn’t think I was getting this job, I did say to the players that Sean would be a good fit for Barnsley because of the players that myself and Keith (Hill) recruited.”