Barnsley boss Michael Duff praises club after handling an 'unprecedented' situation before Portsmouth game

BARNSLEY head coach Michael Duff has paid tribute to the hard work of the club's staff to make sure Tuesday's game against Portsmouth went ahead.

Just under 24 hours before the game, the Reds had to make the decision to temporarily close the East Stand on safety grounds after a pre-match inspection deemed sections of loose cladding in the stand to be unsure.

Both the stand and the East Stand car park were closed, including the hospitality sections, with work to carry on the repairs quickly organised.

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The club were also faced with a significant logistical issue in relocating a significant number of supporters in a small time-frame with fans with season-tickets in the East Stand or match tickets allowed to watch the game in the North Stand, West Stand or South Stand, while refunds are also available.

Michael Duff. Picture: Getty Images.Michael Duff. Picture: Getty Images.
Michael Duff. Picture: Getty Images.

The efforts of everyone connected with the club were rewarded by virtue of the Reds' impressive 3-1 success over Pompey, a fourth successive home win and seventh in nine League One games.

There was also a poignant moment in the 16th minute when the hosts took the lead through James Norwood, just when many supporters had lit up their phones in support of popular staff member Beth Sefton, who recently fell seriously ill.

Duff said: "A lot of credit goes to people behind the scenes because a: it was unprecedented and I don't think anyone expected it to happen.

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"People worked late into the night trying to make sure the game went ahead and then credit to the supporters as well."Because I have been here a while now and the South Yorkshire sort of thing is: 'well, I knew something would go wrong at some point' and waiting for something to go wrong.

"They turned up. It was a slightly strange atmosphere because people were sitting in different seats and it was a slightly different feel to it.

"Credit to them, they all turned up. It was a freezing cold night and it was a good performance and even better result."

The win has put the Reds in a good place ahead of Saturday's scheduled home game with second-placed Plymouth Argyle following an evening which showcased the team, club and its fans in a positive fashion and helped foster more togetherness.

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Duff continued: "It's little moments like the Beth thing with the lights coming on and scoring the first goal. It feels like we are in a good place, but we have four of the top six coming up next. We will attack it like we have done with the other games.

"It's been a slow burner, there's been gradual improvement as the season has gone on. I think we have gone to fourth now, which is nice psychologically as it's 40 points from 18 games and we ended up sixth on Monday morning."