BE BRAVE – that’s the message from Barnsley caretaker-boss Micky Mellon, who wants the Reds to continue to play with a free spirit at Burnley.
The Oakwell outfit head to Mellon’s old club buoyed by a fine win at Brighton, their first on the road in 10 months, with their bold attacking play serving them well.
Mellon gave creative licence in central areas to the likes of Jacob Mellis and Paddy McCourt and it worked a treat in a benchmark offensive performance that they and their team-mates need to replicate, according to the Scot.
He said: “I just wanted to take the shackles off them (at Brighton) and wanted them to have a right good go – getting on the front foot and dictating.
“I kept encouraging them when they gave it away as I wasn’t bothered. I was only bothered when they weren’t brave enough to get the football back and play again. We’ve got some talented footballers here who can express themselves. It’s about playing with a smile on their faces. I will take the responsibility and pressure off.”
Barnsley, under caretaker command, effectively find themselves in a similar position to the start of the New Year under then interim boss David Flitcroft.
No-one needs reminding how the Reds turned things around magnificently in a stunning ‘Great Escape’ mission from relegation in 2012-13, which provides inspiration and context for the battles which lie ahead.
Mellon said: “You couldn’t find a group of players around the Championship more experienced at doing what we need to.
“They did it last year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not what they want to be doing. But there will be a certain amount of calmness about what we do and we’ve got to do.”