Barnsley's postponement works against Tom Edwards as Reds wait to see what impact illness will have on Burton Albion selection

Michael Duff is waiting to see if Barnsley's unexpected winter break is a help or a hindrance but it has not helped Tom Edwards.

The on-loan defender was due to face Oxford United last week after recovering from a knock, only to pick up another this week which makes him a doubt to face Burton Albion.

But manager Duff is hoping he can play, and that a sickness bug which has hit the camp this week does not have much of a bearing on his selection.

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As well as causing last week's game at the Kassam Stadium to be postponed, the cold snap has limited what the Reds have been able to do in training this week but having won their last six games in League One and FA Cup (they lost in the Football League Trophy during that spell), they are hoping Oakwell's undersoil heating allows them to play on Saturday.

ILLNESS: But Barnsley are hopeful Jack Aitchison will have recovered in time to face Burton AlbionILLNESS: But Barnsley are hopeful Jack Aitchison will have recovered in time to face Burton Albion
ILLNESS: But Barnsley are hopeful Jack Aitchison will have recovered in time to face Burton Albion

"It gives a few people a little bit more time but we've not done a lot of training to be brutally honest," reflected Duff, whose side are fourth in League One. "It's been hard to get anywhere to train.

"Oxford were generous enough to let us use their training ground and their gym so we were able to get a gym session in because you don't want them going for a long period without anything. It's better than doing a circuit of a hotel room!

"it was good of them to do that and their lads did the game.

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"The early part of the week it was rock hard. I never came in on Monday because Cheltenham (where his family is based) had about nine inches of snow.

"It's been a case of needs-must. We've been training on the indoor and the astro.

"There's been a bit of sickness, a few lads off with sickness which seems to be doing the rounds around the country.

"It's not ideal we've gone two weeks without a game but it's swings and roundabouts. Some people are closer but there's been a couple of knocks in training."

Edwards is keeping Barnsley guessing at the moment.

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"Tom Edwards took a knock in training, he was in the starting XI for Oxford, it wasn't as bad as we first feared, but he's taken another knock so that's going to be a last-minute one," said his manager.

"He's had a few of them, Tom. We think he's going to be out for eight weeks and he's back in two days so he's a difficult one to assess. Hopeful he'll be available but if not we've got able deputies.

"Wolfey's had a bit more training.

"People like Josh Benson are going to be a week closer but still not fit."

On the illness in the camp, he said: "Some of (the absences from training are) precautionary, particularly in the earlier part of the week.

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"Jack Aitchison wasn't available last week through illness but hopefully he'll feel better.

"Without giving too much away we've had a little bit of it but I think everybody has.

"We'll pick the team we think is healthiest and fittest."

Despite being in the relegation zone, Burton have drawn their last four league matches and are unbeaten in the competition since October's trip to Sheffield Wednesday.