DANNY WILSON is the first to acknowledge at this juncture that suggestions Barnsley are in a relegation scrap are perfectly valid.
The Reds chief, whose sixth-from-bottom side welcome Port Vale today, remains focused on engineering a renaissance up the table in a league where the margins between the majority of teams are thin.
But in the here and now, the Reds’ priority is quelling any fires at the foot of the division – and avoiding a potentially horrific Doomsday scenario of back-to-back relegations.
On whether Barnsley are currently in a survival scrap, Wilson, whose side have lost three of their last four league matches, said: “Yes, of course as the league at this moment suggests we are.
“But also after a win or two, we can see ourselves as contenders for the top six.
“You have seen in the past month or two how many teams are beating each other. That is why no-one is pulling away outside the top three or four.
“The rest of us are still very much in the shout for those other places. But we are in for a relegation scrap this weekend and need to get three points.”
Much may have been made of the youthful promise of many of Barnsley’s players, but Wilson fired a broadside and rebuked his troops this week – urging them to ‘man up’ amid their current poor run.
Up front, Wilson admits his side still badly lack a physical leader of the line, with that being his priority ahead of Monday’s deadline.
Wilson, linked with a player likely to be in the opposing line-up this afternoon in Vale marksman and former Rotherham striker Tom Pope, said: “In the forward areas, we haven’t really got a lot of experience in there.
“So we are looking at that to get a focal point for ourselves in the striking department.”