Halfway into their key quartet of festive League One fixtures against sides around them in the table, Stendel’s side can boast a perfect record after following up victory over Blackpool with three points at the expense of Peterborough United.
The 2-0 triumph over Posh was made all the sweeter by the sight of Australian schemer Dougall lining up for the hosts from the off for his first start since injuring ankle ligaments against Shrewsbury on October 23.
The win enabled Barnsley to leapfrog the Fens outfit into fifth spot and they hold a three-point advantage over the side currently one place below the play-offs in Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Rovers, with a game in hand.
Despite two positive Yuletide results, the Reds are afforded no respite in their schedule with a home appointment with the side one place above them in Charlton Athletic on the Oakwell agenda tomorrow followed by a tough trip to second-placed Luton Town on New Year’s Day.
But the sight of Dougall back in the heart of operations has certainly added to the feelgood factor.
On handing Dougall a start after he came off the bench late on at Bloomfield Road, Stendel said: “We decided very early that Kenny would play in the first XI. Kieffer (Moore) was ill, but we had a lot of options and decided after the impressions from training last week.
“We had a good feeling when Kenny played and we all enjoy it when he can play. He had a long injury and we are happy that he is back.”
In Moore’s absence, Cauley Woodrow stepped up to the plate with an outstanding display for the Reds – netting a key goal to crown a head-turning showing to further endear himself into the hearts of the Oakwell faithful.
On Woodrow, who took his tally to an impressive seven goals in 10 outings for the club, Stendel said: “I think it was not so easy to play as he was the one and only striker in the centre. But, in my opinion, it was the best performance since he has been at Barnsley and I am very happy.
“In the last games, his performance have been getting better and better and this was the best.”