Barnsley coach Poya Asbaghi sees positive signs for Reds’ fight for survival despite defeat at Birmingham City

POYA ASBAGHI urged his Barnsley players to believe they can avoid the drop – despite suffering another setback, this time against one of their relegation rivals.

Birmingham City's Scott Hogan battles for the ball with Barnsley goalkeeper Bradley Collins at St Andrew's. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA
Birmingham City's Scott Hogan battles for the ball with Barnsley goalkeeper Bradley Collins at St Andrew's. Picture: Joe Giddens/PA

Birmingham City claimed their first victory since November thanks to goals from Onel Hernandez and Scott Hogan at St Andrew’s.

Victor Adeboyejo scored a consolation goal in the 87th minute but it was not enough as Asbaghi saw his side suffer their 15th defeat of the season.

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The Tykes have not won a league game since November, leaving them eight points off safety with 21 games remaining.

But Asbaghi believes he has seen enough improvements in his players’ recent performances to give him hope of the Reds clawing their way out of trouble at the bottom of the Championship table.

“We have to keep believing and keep doing what we’re doing out on the pitch,” he said. “In one way, if we had lost this game without having nothing to say then you have to rethink and ask what we’re doing.

“Losing this way is a bigger disappointment because we felt like we could turn this game round. But for the future process, it gives us more confidence that we came here and create that number of chances.

“You can lose in different ways. You can come here and have nothing to say or you can lose like we did today.

“Today was a game in which our overall performance was pretty good. We created a lot of chances today and more chances than we have done in other games combined.

“Birmingham created chances, especially in the first half, but overall I think we created more than them. But it’s the result that counts and, of course, Birmingham take the points.”

Opposite number Lee Bowyer was quick to praise the impact the Cuban Hernandez has made since signing on loan from Norwich.

“He’s a good player,” Bowyer said. “He’s brought us something we didn’t have with that pace on the break. Once we lost (Tahith) Chong through injury, we lost that. He’s going to get better once he gets match fit. He needs to work on his confidence so today will hopefully help that.

“He took his goal really well, again something we worked on.”

Birmingham City: Etheridge, Colin, Marc Roberts, Mengi, Pedersen, Woods, Gardner, James, Hernandez, Jutkiewicz, Hogan. Unused substitutes: Friend, Bela, Graham, Trueman, Sunjic, Bellingham, Campbell.

Barnsley: Collins, Williams, Helik, Andersen, Kitching, Gomes, Palmer, Adeboyejo, Styles, Morris, Iseka. Unused substitutes: Walton, Moon, Hondermarck, Sraha, Thompson, Marsh, Cole.

Referee: Tony Harrington (Cleveland).

“I said to him all week that I was going to play him out wide and we needed him to be positive. We needed him to try and make something happen because he’s a good player because, if he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be here.

“He did that today and he asked questions of the defenders. He took his goal really well, again something we worked on.”