Barnsley FC head coach Poya Asbaghi on what Reds cannot afford to lose in survival fight

POYA ASBAGHI insists that there are no negative vibes among Barnsley's playing squad - and stresses that attitude will not be a contributory factor should the Reds relinquish their Championship status at the end of the season.

The Oakwell outfit have endured an extremely tough campaign so far and have been in the drop zone virtually from day one - winning just three times in 30 league matches in 2021-22.

A rare moment of positivity arrived last Saturday by way of the first win under Asbaghi's watch at league level at the 12th time of asking, a richly-deserved 1-0 victory over high-flying QPR at Oakwell.

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Relatively benevolent results in the past week mean that Barnsley, who prop up the table ahead of Saturday's trip to Coventry, still have a sniff of survival with four teams effectively pitted into the fight to avoid relegation.

Poya Asbaghi.

Barnsley are six points adrift of the side just outside of the bottom three in Reading - who drew at third-from-bottom Peterborough in midweek - with a game in hand.

Asbaghi's side must play second-from-bottom Derby, Reading and Posh before season's end.

Staying up and staging a second 'Great Escape' mission in three seasons will still represent a huge task, but one thing that Asbaghi is adamant about is that attitude will not be a problem, with the club having a united dressing room.

Asbaghi, who saw all of the club's key players remain in January, said: "We will never keep a player who will show a bad attitude by staying. We cannot afford that now.

"No matter how good you are as a football player, we cannot afford that in our situation. Something we have had in all of our games is attitude and we have to mix this attitude with more quality and not bringing in quality at the cost of attitude because (otherwise) everyone would sit here after February and say February was not a good month either.

"We cannot afford that right now. What I do know is that the players who are here want to be here and help and that is a really encouraging thought."

Asbaghi is the first to acknowledge that the Reds' fraught run this winter - and harsh season - has been undeniably tough for his young squad.

Saturday's much-needed win will hooefully provide a confidence rush, with Barnsley coming out on the right side of a narrow scoreline for once - after being on the wrong side on umpteenth occasions in 2021-22.

Asbaghi continued: "This affects younger players and we are working really hard. Even if the outcome of this season (so far) has not been good, at the end you earn the points you get. If we sit here and talk about it being a tough one against Cardiff and Birmingham, you talk away the points we have received in the league. It speaks for itself.

"But there is potential in what these young players can do and with the right result (on Saturday), they can get a lot of confidence to show they have more to give this season than what we have done so far."