CONOR CHAPLIN has stressed that all of Barnsley’s players want Adam Murray to be handed the full-time position.
Caretaker manager Murray has lifted spirits and performance levels in his four matches at the helm, with a change in mood also clearly detectable in the Reds squad.
But the precious currency of a victory – to significantly harden Murray’s credentials for the permanent role – has so far remained elusive, with a win this afternoon likely to be a non-negotiable if the former Mansfield Town chief is to have a genuine chance of continuing in his position.
On the impact made so far by Murray, Chaplin said: “I think I talk on behalf of all the lads that everyone has really enjoyed working with him. He excites the lads as well and we come out every day in training and want to train, play and work hard for him and that is important. He has probably been the catalyst, if I am honest.
“The mentality he has instilled in the dressing room is something the lads are really buying into.
“Everyone likes him and his ideas and gets on really well with him. He treats the boys really well. I cannot talk highly enough of him.
“It is more than him being a cheerleader and cheering the boys up, it is a lot more than that. I think we are quite a confident bunch anyway. Just because you are down there, you should not feel miserable and pessimistic.
“You have got to be optimistic, otherwise you are not going to get out of the position we are in. It is something he has brought in on the training pitch and it is a lot more fun and competitive as well. I think that is massive.”
Murray is expecting ‘clarity’ on the head coaching position during the international break, with his sole concern being on today’s huge relegation ‘six-pointer’ against Stoke, with the pressure all on the shoulders of the visitors in his view.
A subplot arrives in the shape of former Reds defender Liam Lindsay, now in the colours of the Potters, making his first return to Oakwell since his summer move, although Stoke keeper and former Reds captain Adam Davies is unlikely to be involved after failing to feature so far since switching to the bet365 Stadium in the close season.
Murray also renews acquaintances with a familiar face in the Stoke dug-out in the shape of one-time Derby County team-mate Rory Delap, who is likely to be alongside new Potters manager Michael O’Neill after taking temporary charge recently following the axing of Nathan Jones.
Murray said: “A win would be great for the confidence of everybody in the next step in our journey.
“But we know we are in for a really tough game. Stoke are in a difficult position like ourselves, but when you look at their squad, they have got some incredible talent on paper. We are going to have to make sure we are at our best.
“The game is billed as a relegation battle, which it is. But in my eyes, the pressure is all on them.
“There is no way they should be in the position they are in with the resources and players that they have got.”