Barnsley spirits lifted by Alex Mowatt's award and positive injury news on Liam Kitching and Herbie Kane

Morale is high ahead of Barnsley's Championship game at home to Middlesbrough with players close to returning from injury and captain Alex Mowatt recognised as the Championship player of the month for March.

Ben Williams, Liam Kitching and Herbie Kane are recovering well from injury, with hopes high that the latter pair might be able to join training next week, and there are no fresh injuries after the Easter Monday victory over Luton Town.

“Everybody's all right and ready for the game,” said manager Valerien Ismale. “After Luton it was great to see the guys recover very well.

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“It's only the three guys Ben Williams, Liam Kitching and Herbie Kane (who are injured) but they've made a big improvement and possibly two of the three guys (Kitching and Kane) can maybe train with the team next week so that's good news for us that long-term injured players are back soon, it gives us a great feeling.

AWARD: Barnsley captain Alex Mowatt has been recognised as the best Championship player in March

“We will see step by step (with them). I want to see the players train with the team. It's a great feeling for the guys to come back to join in the warm-up in training and see them with the guys.”

Also putting a smile on Barnsley faces was the award for midfielder Mowatt.

“I think Alex raised his own performance to the next level and he's had a big impact on the team and outside the pitch,” said Ismael. “He's become more mature in his way to play and his personality.

“He's made a big step forward and it's a good reward for him. He's just focused on his performance and it's given us a lot of confidence.

“He has a big impact on the club, he's the captain and a player the club can identify with. We are all very happy for him.”

Mowatt is out of contract at the end of the season, but Ismael says he is only focused on finishing the campaign strongly. Barnsley are fifth in the table and with one defeat in their last 13 matches, are putting themselves in a strong position to compete for the play-offs.

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