Wigan v Barnsley: Wembley looms as Johnson faces squad posers

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Barnsley coach Lee Johnson faces key decisions in the next month over the future of 10 players at Oakwell.

Seven players see their loan deals end in early January, the same time when the short-term contracts of Simeon Jackson, Reece Wabara and Adam Hammill run out.

Barnsley manager Lee Johnson

Barnsley manager Lee Johnson

Between them they form a huge part of Johnson’s Oakwell squad and the head coach knows results in the league over the next four weeks could determine the players’ futures.

Barnsley are sat bottom of League One, and Johnson is fighting to get out of the four relegation places.

“We have a lot of planning to do, we have 10 players out of contract in January,” said Johnson.

“Some of the loans will go back, some will stay, and those micro-decisions have to be made soon and early. Because then you have to decide who you want to recruit in that January period, because it’s never easy.”

Today see the Reds take a break from the league, with a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern area semi-final against Wigan.

Barnsley have beaten Scunthorpe United, Bradford City and York City this season in the JPT, and if they beat Wigan only one team will stand between Johnson’s men and a Wembley 
final spot.

“We now have an area semi-final on Saturday, which is a really good game for us,” he said.

“We know we can compete with every team in League One and this weekend is no different.

“Even though it’s a JPT game, Wigan are a League One side that are strong, but we can go there with freedom and play our stuff.

“The mindset is to go and win the game. It’s like a quarter-final of the cup, and a big game for us.

“We want to keep the dream alive of Wembley, give the fans a Wembley day out.

“If we win this game, there’s a real possibility of it.

“The players are really looking forward to it. People dream and that’s what you want.”

Last six: Wigan LWWWLD Barnsley LWLWLD.

Last time: Wigan 2 Barnsley 0; February 18, 2014; Championship.

Referee: K Hill (Herts).