Barnsley v sheffield Wednesday – Michael Sollbauer striving to maintain mature approach

UNFLAPPABLE and observant off the pitch as well as on it, Barnsley defender Michael Sollbauer does not miss much.

Having been part of a Reds squad who held their nerve and showed the right mentality during last season’s ‘Great Escape’ finale when every second mattered, the Austrian believes that the club’s class of 2020-21 will be all the better for that experience in the current run-in.

Of course, the club’s mission is a wholly different one and of a far more pleasurable variety at the top end of the table.

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There is pressure all the same and senior heads like Sollbauer – wonderfully consistent both in deeds and words and an example for others – will be worth their weight in gold.

Sollbauer said: “It is a crazy turnaround in the last couple of months. Last season, we were fighting against relegation and at the moment, we are in a very good position.

“I think what happened last season was very helpful to prepare with what the whole club, staff and a lot of players went through. We have grown together and it is one reason why we are a good group.

“For me, it is the same situation (mentally). There are two areas where you need to be aware – when it is not going really good and when it is really good.

“There are nine games left. We are in a good position and must stay calm and focused on our own performances and then we’ll see.”

WISE HEAD: Barnsley's Michael Sollbauer, in action against Birmingham City's Scott Hogan. Picture: Zac Goodwin/PA

Sollbauer may turn 31 in May and have seen a lot in football, but he admits he has never experienced a run of results like Barnsley have been experiencing.

But in the here and now, he is the last sort of person to get carried away with play-off and even promotion talk.

He added: “It is the first time I have been on a run like this and it is a very special moment for me and I am very happy to be part of it.

“So far we have done quite good, but one of the hardest things at the moment for the team is ignoring the background noises around us and the talk and records.

Barnsley's Michael Sollbauer (left) and Norwich City's Przemyslaw Placheta battle for the ball. Picture: Nigel French/PA

“At the moment, the team are showing a big maturity and we have to stay that way and just focus on us and we will do everything to keep this focus and not get out of our way.

“Sheffield Wednesday are in a similar position to us last season in fighting relegation and it will be a very big task for us and we must prepare for a tough, intense game. We take it very seriously and it is not an easy fight.”

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