Barnsley FC head coach Valerien Ismael on international reward for Michal Helik

VALERIEN ISMAEL believes that defender Michal Helik’s call-up into the provisional Polish national side is for a reward for everyone connected with Barnsley.

The big defender has been in outstanding form in the Reds’ stunning sequence of seven successive Championship victories and has won the club’s player of the month awards for both February and January.

The form of the Chorzow-born centre-half, 25, who joined the club from Cracovia in September, has now been recognised with elevation to his home nation’s provisional squad for their forthcoming internationals later this month.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ismael, whose high-flying side welcome Derby on Wednesday evening, said: “If you can raise your own performance, the team performance will be better.

Michal Helik. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

“And when you are getting the results, you are getting the rewards. It is important for the club to see the possibilities and (that) the future for the young players at Barnsley with talent is bigger than somewhere else. It is a reward for everyone in the club, but especially for Michal.”

Barnsley may in magnificent form in terms of their results, but despite moving into the play-offs following the weekend win over Birmingham, Ismael says that his side are ravenous for more victories and are relentless in their desire not to ease up.

At the end of February, the Frenchman challenged the Reds to see how many points they could manage from the 18 points available in a six-game March heading up to the international break - ahead of re-assessing where they are at in terms of their top-six credentials.

It is a case of ‘so far, so good’ after six points from two matches already this month.

He said: For sure, it is a great feeling, but for us, the job is not done. We are hungry and not satisfied and we want to continue.

“This is a great feeling - to try and give everything to get the next win and the next win until we are over the line.

“We are in a very good position, but we need more wins to come through.

“We have achieved our first purpose (fifty points) and it is not about finding our own motivation and goals and we need to keep going and pushing in the table and winning the next game.

“This is our focus and motivation and the guys recognise how we have to manage the game and focus one by one.

“It is a tough game and schedule and everything is very sensitive. We are on the right way at the moment with the mentality from the guys."

Hailing his side’s recent game management, Ismael, who reports no fresh injuries for the Rams game, added: “We always try to find the solution as our ambition is always to win. We have the possibilities on the bench to do something and all the players are involved and every player knows we have to give the chance for everyone.

“And if we have to make some changes, we will do it.”