Barnsley FC players must run hard at Bournemouth, says Valerien Ismael

VALERIEN ISMAEL says that his Barnsley players must find even higher levels of endurance and running power in Saturday’s crunch top-six encounter at Bournemouth.

The Reds, whose high-energy pressing style has yielded some major results this season, take the field on the south coast under 72 hours on from Wednesday’s home draw with Derby, with the Oakwell head coach admitting his squad looked a bit jaded in midweek after failing to secure an eighth league win in a row

The focus has been on recovery ahead of the six-pointer with the seventh-placed Cherries, who are just outside of the play-off positions and are two points adrift of Barnsley.

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Ismael said: “Forget the result, we need a massive performance. We need to be prepared to run more and jump and fight and tactically, it will be a game with an opponent dominating the opponent with possession and they rotate a lot in midfield in their positions and they have a lot of speed in front.

Valerien Ismael.

“We have a lot of areas to control and it is my job to prepare the guys for the game. The purpose for sure in our game plan is to get the points and move forward.”

Centre-half Aapo Halme is set to boost Ismael’s option by returning and the Reds chief admits he will be a priceless option in the run in, if he stays fit.

The Finn has operated with success in a defensive midfield role and produced an outstanding contribution in the recent win over Millwall, but Ismael still primarily values him from his defensive aplomb.

He added: “Aapo is likely to be back. He lets us adapt and adjust to what we need and maybe to make some rotations in the centre-back position and that is why it is important that he stays (fit).

“If you see the front three now, we have so many possibilities and I have that in my mind for the centre-back position in exactly the same way.

“At the moment, we have only one possibility to rotate with Toby (Sibbick) and Solly (Michael Sollbauer), but we need more. We would have Liam Kitching normally, but now just have Aapo.

“It was not our plan to have players injured, but I am happy that Aapo is now back to have possibilities in our game.