Barnsley promotion is heightened by beating Sunderland, Portsmouth and Charlton to top two, says Dale Tonge

BARNSLEY assistant head coach Dale Tonge believes that the Reds' promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking has been afforded gravitas by pipping a trio of former Premier League regulars to a top-two place.

Barnsley's victorious coaching team (left to right); Dale Tonge, John Vaughan, Daniel Stendel and Christopher Stern.

Daniel Stendel's side were promoted alongside Luton Town without kicking a ball on Tuesday night after rivals Portsmouth and Sunderland both lost.

Charlton Athletic also had an outside chance of going up automatically for a spell in the run-in, but the Reds held their nerve superbly to get over the line.

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On the heightened sense of achievement, Tonge said: "I think it does and is evident of what the players have actually achieved this year.

Barnsley's victorious coaching team (left to right); Dale Tonge, John Vaughan, Daniel Stendel and Christopher Stern.

"A lot of people have mentioned these clubs. But I think we are a big club in our own right at this level. But at the same time, we understand they are big institutions and clubs for this level and expectation in on them to get promoted.

"But ourselves and Luton have now done that and I think it is just rewards for what the players, staff and club as a whole have achieved this season."

Tonge feels that Tuesday night's celebrations for the Reds represented 'just rewards' for an ultra-consistent season which finishes at Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

And he admits that clinching the title ahead of Luton, who face Oxford, would provide added gloss - with the Reds having to better the Hatters' result to clinch silverware.

He added: "None of us expected both teams to lose on Tuesday and it was a quiet household until the 95th minute when the whistle went at Portsmouth and the Sunderland result also matters.

"It was a great night and just rewards for what the players have achieved this season."

On potential title icing, he added: "It would. We know it is not in our hands. But we will go there with a focus to win and hopefully Oxford will do us a favour. Promotion was the main aim, but if we do get that, it is job done."

Jacob Brown is a doubt for Saturday's game.