Preston NE v Barnsley: Brad Collins believes tide will turn for Reds

WHEN you are down among the dead men at the wrong end of the table, honesty and straight-talking must be the starting point.

Barnsley goalkeeper Brad Collins is from that school.

An individual who can never be accused of being prone to hyperbole, the 24-year-old – the Reds’ most consistent performer in the first half of a troubled campaign by some distance – is not one to dress up the club’s current predicament either.

Barnsley have won just twice in 21 league games this term and the clock is starting to tick down.

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Consistent: Barnsley goalkeeper Brad Collin. Picture: Getty ImagesConsistent: Barnsley goalkeeper Brad Collin. Picture: Getty Images
Consistent: Barnsley goalkeeper Brad Collin. Picture: Getty Images

You have to go back to far, far happier times in April for the club’s last away victory, a 1-0 success at Huddersfield Town.

In the here and now, a couple of victories between now and the end of the festive season are imperative if the Oakwell outfit are to give themselves a fighting chance of survival going into the New Year.

Collins, an ever-present at league level this season, said: “The league table doesn’t lie, we are where we are because we deserve to be.

“But it’s about taking it game by game. There are so many games left to play, a lot of points to play for and the confidence is growing day by day.

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“There have been tough spells this season where we’ve been missing different players. But recently we have nearly everyone back now and it’s about pushing each other, and I think we can kick on now under the gaffer.”

Should Barnsley secure their first away victory of the season at Deepdale this afternoon, it would not just assume psychological importance. It would also exorcise a couple of ghosts in the process.

The Lancashire venue saw arguably the worst performance of the Valerien Ismael era in Barnsley’s final regular away game of 2020-21 when the Reds lost 2-0.

Their place in the top six may have been already mathematically assured, but Ismael was scathing of his side afterwards.

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In the Reds’ previous visit there, a grim 5-1 defeat in October, 2019 was the precursor to the sacking of Daniel Stendel.

Today, the new manager talk surrounds Ryan Lowe, who leads Preston for the first time and has promised a new approach.

The former Plymouth Argyle chief – also a former player at Sheffield Wednesday – said: “They (Preston supporters) will see something different from the games I have watched and seen.

“We will hopefully be very attack-minded, on the front foot and aggressive – I don’t want to give too much away to Barnsley at this stage.”

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