BARNSLEY head coach Daniel Stendel believes that Tuesday’s draw with League One automatic promotion rivals Sunderland is more beneficial to his second-placed side than the Wearside club.
A wind-ravaged stalemate at Oakwell saw the Reds maintain their four-point advantage over the third-placed visitors, who have a game in hand.
Barnsley can put further pressure on Sunderland by claiming a derby victory in Friday’s televised game at Doncaster Rovers with the Black Cats welcoming Walsall the following day.
Stendel, whose side extended their unbeaten league home record under his watch to 19 games – equalling a post-war record of 23 league matches without defeat at Oakwell in the 0-0 draw – said: “I think the draw helps us more than Sunderland.
“I am not sure that (leaders) Luton will win all their games, but we have our chances. While we keep the gap to a minimum we have all the chances to be promoted directly. That is the goal.”
Stendel’s counterpart Jack Ross also derived satisfaction from his side extending their own unbeaten sequence to 18 matches.
Sunderland and Barnsley are yet to sample a league loss in 2019, alongside Luton whose last league defeat was 3-2 at Oakwell in mid-October.
Luton hold a five-point advantage over Barnsley and a nine-point lead over Sunderland, but Ross still believes that anything canhappen between now and the end of the season.
“We have kept ourselves in it and are there or thereabouts and there are a lot of games to go and lots of points to play for from now on in.
“I said before the game that the three teams at the top of this league have had unbelievable seasons in what they have achieved and to come to a club who had not lost at home was not easy – far from it.”
Attention switches to Barnsley’s short trip to the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow evening and despite the relatively quick turnaround, Stendel insists that his side will be ready for the challenge – and firmly focused on ending a keynote week with an important win.
He added: “It is a derby and the first game at Oakwell was a difficult one. Doncaster played very well and we know it.
“But we will be well prepared on Friday and we want to win this game.”