WHEN talk turns to Barnsley’s dismal Oakwell record in the League Cup in its various guises over the past decade, Dale Tonge affords himself a grimace.
The time span may include noble defeats to Manchester United and Everton, but embarrassing first-round exits to the quartet of Northampton Town, Crewe Alexandra, Morecambe and Rochdale blight the landscape considerably.
Carlisle United are the latest lower-division side keen to dine out at Barnsley’s expense and assistant head coach Tonge does not wish to countenance another painful set-back.
Tonge, who confirmed that the club are not currently envisaging letting another young squad players out on loan despite fielding some interest, said: “We have got quite a young group and the run is not something that they recognise.
“They just want to play another game and that is a real benefit of having a young group.”
Barnsley fans could get their first look at deadline-day signings Patrick Schmidt and Clarke Oduor, while Callum Styles is set for a full debut in place of Alex Mowatt, who underwent a scan on Monday after suffering a side strain against Sheffield Wednesday.
Tonge added: “Winning breeds confidence and it is a great opportunity for people to impress, especially with the game at the weekend.
“There will be quite a few players involved who have not had as many minutes as what they have probably expected. Our plan is to get some minutes into these boys.
“This cup remains quite a high priority for us because we understand it is not just an opportunity of adding games, but getting a winning mentality.”
It promises to be a big night for Styles and his family this evening in what is likely to be his first start for the Reds and the teenager is eager to make the most of his opportunity, more especially given Mowatt’s injury issue.
He said: “Your family are your best supporters. My mum, dad, auntie and grandad will all be there and there will be five or six here.”
Last six games: Barnsley WWWLWL; Carlisle WLWDWL.
Referee: B Toner (Lancashire).
Last time: Barnsley 1 Carlisle 2, March 22, 1986; Division Two.