If results go their way on Saturday, the Reds – should they prevail in their lunch-time derby at Sheffield United – could leapfrog the Royals ahead of a huge survival ‘six-pointer’ between the sides at Oakwell on the resumption after the international hiatus on April 2.
It would represent massive progress according to Reds keeper Brad Collins, mindful that the Oakwell outfit can set up the game nicely with a positive result at Bramall Lane this weekend.
Things looked bleak in late autumn and even as recently as early February after Barnsley slumped to seven straight losses.
But a renaissance has seen Poya Asbaghi’s side win four of their last eight matches, losing just twice, with the latest reviving moment coming in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Bristol City, which extended Barnsley’s unbeaten sequence at Oakwell to five matches.
It proved a real team effort from front to back, with Collins commenting: “These are the games that really matter. A tough Tuesday night game after a busy schedule can make or break your season.
“With the international break coming after it, another win (on Saturday) will put us in great stead coming back into it for the Reading game.
“To win games in this league, you have to be defensively resilient and head and block a lot and the boys have been terrific lately.
“To be honest, for the young players, a lot of it comes with confidence and we were poor for long spells and the boys are growing in confidence every day and to get results like this over the past few weeks means we are going to grow more in confidence and get better.
“I just hope we will stick at it.”