Charlton Athletic v Barnsley: Neill Collins on potential play-off preparation for Reds - off the pitch and on it

PLAY-OFF preparation - off the pitch as well as on it - might just serve Barnsley well in the coming days, should their season extend into late May.

On the pitch, the Reds’ run-in suggests that games against the likes of Charlton - a side who are getting their act together under Nathan Jones and are finishing a difficult season strongly - Stevenage and Portsmouth will acclimatise them for the end-of-season lottery, which is where most people expect them to land.

Instead of heading back to Yorkshire after today’s game, players and staff will remain in the south to prepare for Tuesday’s encounter at the Lamex Stadium.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Should they end up in the play-offs and reach the Wembley final, then it will be a ‘dummy run’ in terms of a more high-profile stay ‘down south’ in late spring.

Barnsley manager Neill Collins. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.Barnsley manager Neill Collins. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.
Barnsley manager Neill Collins. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images.

Collins said: “We’ve gone down to Charlton and the players had the option of coming back after or staying down and we are staying down. I think that’s because they like spending time together as we have got a good togetherness.

"They enjoy spending time together and sometimes, these things can build the camaraderie even more and I like that.

"I’m looking forward to hopefully enjoying three points on Saturday night and the lads can spend time together and then look forward to another tough one at Stevenage.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Alongside rejuvenated Charlton, Stevenage - still firmly in the top-six mix - and leaders Portsmouth, Barnsley must also face a Reading side who could well have something to play for as they seek to wrap up an emotional safety mission after all manner of vicissitudes at the Berkshire club this term.

A trip to a Blackpool side whose home form at Bloomfield Road has been sturdy will also represent another challenge and all of the above are likely to ‘condition’ Collins’s side if their season is extended.

Collins added: “We’ve got a lot of games between now and the end of the season which could reflect play-off type games.

"We’ve got Charlton and Stevenage and also got Portsmouth away.

"These are games where we are hoping to win and put on a good performance.”