Barnsley prepare for battle after request to cancel Nottingham Forest game refused by EFL

Assistant coach Ferran Sibila says Barnsley’s players have no choice but to fight after the Football League refused their request to postpone tonight’s Championship game against Nottingham Forest despite only 12 players training yesterday.

Assistant coach Ferran Sibila says Barnsley’s players have no choice but to fight after the Football League refused their request to postpone tonight’s Championship game against Nottingham Forest despite only 12 players training yesterday.

Those missing included players unable to train because of knocks but not yet ruled out tonight and coach Poya Asbaghi, ill with a sore throat but hopeful of travelling after negative Covid-19 tests on Sunday and Monday.

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Games can be postponed if clubs have fewer than 13 outfielders and/or no goalkeeper so if that is the case today, another request cannot be discounted. Sibila would not say how many absentees were in Covid-19 isolation.

GAME ON: Barnsley head coach Poya Asbaghi. Picture: Tony Johnson

What adds to the sense of injustice at Oakwell is the fact the game was postponed on January 3 because of Forest’s shortages.

“We wanted to play the game but Nottingham had the chance to postpone because of Covid cases even though they have more than 30 players but we are not able to postpone our game with less than 13 players training,” said Sibila.

Josh Benson, Callum Brittain and Clarke Odour are injured and Callum Styles doubtful.

Bottom-of-the-table Barnsley must use their frustration to inspire a first Championship away win since April.

“We want to fight for the game and win,” said Sibila. “I’ve seen games where a team has a lot of injuries and they win.

“If we play the game we will give 100 per cent and I’m confident the players will show that to say, ‘Pick me more often.’”