Barnsley FC v Oxford: Reds will have play-off momentum whatever happens, insists Michael Duff

REGARDLESS of what happens in Barnsley's final four games of the regular season, Michael Duff is sure about one thing.
Michael Duff. Picture: GettyMichael Duff. Picture: Getty
Michael Duff. Picture: Getty

Namely that if - as most expect - the Reds' campaign extends into the play-offs and they do not finish in the automatic promotion positions, they will carry momentum into the end-of-season lottery.

The Oakwell outfit, whose play-off place was secured after a midweek draw at Lincoln City, still have an outside chance of gatecrashing the top two, which is a remarkable achievement in itself in a comeback season which many expected to be one of consolidation back in July.

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Should they miss out, Duff has plenty of perspective and is unequivocal that his side would enter the play-offs in a very strong place.

Duff, whose side have won 12 of their last 13 league games at Oakwell, including their last eight in a season for the first time since 1955, said: "Even if we don't win in the next four, we have been on an unbelievable run and we are carrying momentum one way or the other.

"Somebody told me that if the table was from the start of the year, we'd be five points clear at the top of the league.

"So if we are in the play-offs, we will carry momentum.

"If we lose our next four games 4-0, it might put a bit of a dampener on it. But I don't believe we will, but if we do, it's just another challenge.

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"Whatever presents itself in the next four games, people will fit stories to their narrative, whichever way they want to go with it - positive or negative.

"We'll have either had a brilliant run this year or blown our top two chances...

"But we believe in the squad and players and hopefully they trust in the way we have been working and the process put in place as a staff as they have seen an upside to it in the last six months."

While the top-two is possible, Barnsley will be fighting for it, Duff insists.

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"We will focus on the play-offs once we are in the play-offs - if we are in the play-offs,” he added.

"We will be expecting the best version of Oxford (today) who are a dangerous opponent. There's no easy games in this league. we went to Lincoln and it was 0-0 and doom and gloom and they have lost just once at home all season. But there's expectancy and hope, which is good.

"I take positives out of disappointment, believe it or not, with the supporters disappointed that we have not gone to Lincoln City and won. Last year, we did not go anywhere and win.