Preston North End v Barnsley – Fan’s tragedy is driving the Reds

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GERMAN coaches may be renowned for their technical and tactical attention to detail on the training ground, but their powers do not extend to teaching players how to communicate to each other in the heat of battle.

Despite a hugely encouraging offensive display in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Derby County, two awful and needless defensive concessions represented the main talking point afterwards on a night when Barnsley’s winless sequence extended to nine Championship games.

Conor Chaplin: Donating. Picture: Tony Johnson

Conor Chaplin: Donating. Picture: Tony Johnson

Attention now switches to Preston and despite some pointers from the coaching staff in regard to improved on-pitch communication, the onus is very much on the players to front up and take personal responsibility.

Assistant head coach Chris Stern said: “It is not a question of behaviour or tactics or whatever; it is to be responsible for getting the ball out of the danger zone.

“It is what you have got to do.

“Everyone who expects young players not to make mistakes is just wrong. You have to accept mistakes from young players, but then they have got to work on it (themselves).”

Barnsley’s need for a relieving victory at Deepdale may speak for itself today, but there is an additional emotional reason as well.

Supporters are still coming to terms with the sad news that ‘one of their own’ in Reds fan Jeffrey Wroe passed away after suffering a cardiac arrest during the game with Derby.

A number of Barnsley players have donated money to Mr Wroe’s family via a Crowdfunding site including forward Conor Chaplin.

He said: “Everyone is devastated about the news. The lads have come together and want to make sure the family is well-looked after. It was such a sad moment.

“Thankfully, that (equalising) goal (against Derby) was a little reminder that we are all together.

“Football goes aside when something like that happens. All our thoughts are with Jeffrey’s family, not just me but all the boys in the changing room and staff at the club.

“It would be a great tribute if we could go to Preston and win for him. It is extra motivation.”

Barnsley, who have lost just once on their last five visits to Deepdale, renew acquaintances with former midfielder Brad Potts today following his £1.5m sale to North End in January.