Walsall v Barnsley - No surprises for Tykes as they target top six

IN-FORM REDS: Barnsley defender George Williams is taken down by Coventrys Sam Ricketts. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
IN-FORM REDS: Barnsley defender George Williams is taken down by Coventrys Sam Ricketts. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
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Barnsley’s tranformation from relegation strugglers into promotion challengers has not come as a surprise to the club’s players.

It is only a few short months ago that the Tykes were fighting to stay in League One, as they scrapped away at the bottom of the table.

But, after a run off 11 wins from 14 league games – including seven clean sheets in nine outings – Barnsley sit seventh, kept out of the top six only on goal difference.

The resurgence has not come as a shock to the dressing room, according to Reds full-back George Williams.

“This run hasn’t taken us by surprise, said the 22-year-old.

“We were playing well earlier on, but not getting the results and then when the results came the confidence did and we’ve been doing really well.

“It’s been a good turnaround and anything can happen when you get a good run together so we’ll just keep going.”

Tuesday’s 2-0 win over play-off rivals Coventry City was a real statement of intent, and Barnsley face another promotion hopeful today with a trip to third-placed Walsall.

“It’s a big test (Walsall), but every game now is a big challenge.” said Williams, back in the Reds’ side after a loan spell at Conference outfit Barrow.

“We’re on a good bit of form at the minute and we’re looking to carry that on Saturday.

“Everyone says we’re the in-form team and you could tell by the way Coventry lined up that they feared us a bit. We’re going into this game on form and we’re looking to carry that on.”

“It’s a tough run now with tough games, but a win against Walsall would be great.

“I know it’s a cliché but we really are taking each game as it comes and not looking too far ahead. It’s a big mistake if you start thinking about play-offs too early. We’ll take each game as it comes.”

Williams started the season at Oakwell, but was sent out on loan to Barrow, where he made 15 appearances for the non-league outfit. It gave him valuable experience of first-team football, and he has slotted into the Reds’ team, and is yet to appear on a losing side in seven games.

“It’s really good to be playing,” said Williams.

“I was biding my time in the Under-21s and working hard, but it’s really good to be back involved and playing. Hopefully there’s more to come.”

Last six games: Walsall WLDLDD, Barnsley WLWDWW.

Referee: G Ward (Surrey).

Last time: Walsall 3 Barnsley 1; December 13, 2014; League One.