Recovery time key for Barnsley in pursuit of play-offs

AS the late, great Brian Clough used to say, preparation is relaxation.

Barnsley boss Valerien Ismael. Picture: Tony Johnson

That mantra is likely to come in handy for Barnsley, whose recovery work ahead of tomorrow’s key game at play-off rivals Bournemouth will be every bit as important as training ground sessions in the build-up.

To a man, Barnsley’s outfield players again emptied their tanks as their relentless pressing style dictates in Wednesday’s goalless draw with Derby County, with head coach Valerien Ismael admitting his players looked jaded when he spoke afterwards.

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They now make the long journey to a direct rival just outside of the top-six positions in the Cherries, who are two points behind the Reds, who occupy the final Championship play-off slot.

By contrast, Bournemouth – who triumphed 4-0 in the reverse fixture at Oakwell in December – have had a full week to prepare, but Ismael has stressed his players will be ready for the ‘six-pointer’ in Dorset.

He said: “Now, with a lot of games, there is an impact from the schedule on the guys and that is why you have to accept it as it is due to the intensity we put in the game all the time.

“To still take one point was important (on Wednesday).

“We have to stay focused and give everything and then embrace the international break.

“We do not try to complain and stay in our way and accept the schedule and now we have to recover. We have enough players to adapt to the situation.”

Keeper Brad Collins has echoed Ismael’s belief that the point against Derby could still turn out to be a key one at the end of the season, on a night when Barnsley extended their unbeaten run to 10 matches.

Collins, who has kept an impressive eight clean sheets in all competitions after being restored to the starting line-up in preference to Jack Walton in early January, said: “When you have won seven in a row, you want to win eight and nine.

“But looking at the bigger picture, you take the point to keep the unbeaten run going and keep moving.

“At the end of the season, that extra one point could mean we have got there. We take the point and move on. We are definitely not scared of Bournemouth and will look to go there and fight.”

Adding some perspective given the position the club were in 12 months ago, the 24-year-old continued: “It is great for the fans. Last season was a very tough season for the whole club and to be where we are now is brilliant for them.”

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