Gerhard Struber on Barnsley FC's safety target

BARNSLEY head coach Gerhard Struber believes his side may have to reach fifty points to clinch Championship safety.

The second-from-bottom Reds - on 41 points with six games to go - embark on the first leg of a key triple header at relegation rivals Stoke City tomorrow, with the visitors able to leapfrog the hosts with victory.

Following that, Barnsley head to the side currently propping up the table in Luton Town on Tuesday before being scheduled to host Wigan Athletic - who entered into administration this week - tomorrow week.

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Barnsley head to the Potteries as one of the form sides of the second-tier, having won five of their past seven matches, while keeping six clean sheets in their last eight outings.

Gerhard Struber.

But regardless of their form, the Reds remain in the drop zone, with several rivals having posted important victories since lockdown, including Yorkshire rivals Hull City and Huddersfield Town.

As it stands, a compelling survival fight has the potential to go down to the wire and while it looks like a mid 40-point threshold would save clubs from relegation early in the New Year, Struber is conscious that the bar has been raised.

The Austrian said: "I think this is a big challenge for every club to climb out of this relegation zone.

"Fifty points maybe, in the end, will be the necessary points what we need.

"The Championship is a tough league.

"Right now, we stay in the relegation zone and know we have six games with big challenges, especially on Saturday."

While Barnsley's form on the restart has been impressive, Stoke's has been anything but, with the Potters picking up just one point from nine available and dropping into the relegation zone after successive losses to Middlesbrough and Wigan.

But Struber is wary of the threat posed by a Potters squad who are crammed with former Premier League operators and who beat Barnsley 4-2 in the reverse fixture, Michael O'Neill's first game in charge in November.

Struber added: "The players at Stoke play for one year in the Premier League with similar players.

"This is a very, very big challenge for us on Saturday. But we have a very good mood, feeling and spirit and I have for the right plan.

"For this very big opponent, it is very difficult to play against a young, hungry team with hungry eyes."

"This is a big week. But we have had so many big weeks behind us and before. Every game is very important. This week and the last week is important for us."