Boost for Portsmouth as Barnsley run has them feeling ‘fatigued’

Pompey entertain Barnsley on Saturday, with the Tykes’ recent climb up the League One ladder perhaps coming at a price.

Thursday, 21st February 2019, 1:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st February 2019, 2:15 pm
Pompey drew 1-1 with Barnsley at Oakwell in December Picture: Joe Pepler

Daniel Stendel’s side currently sit second in the table – five points clear of the Blues, who sit fourth.

They have put themselves in the driving seat for automatic promotion back to the Championship with a 13-match unbeaten run in the league.

And they have leapfrogged Pompey in the standings thanks to six wins in the division since the turn of the year.

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Pompey drew 1-1 with Barnsley at Oakwell in December Picture: Joe Pepler

In that timeframe, the Blues have only recorded one win, with Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Bristol Rovers their seventh league game without maximum points.

But while Barnsley are on a clear upward trajectory, assistant manager Dale Tonge has admitted they may now be feeling the effects of their hard work.

Going into Saturday’s visit to Fratton Park, the Tykes No2 said fatigue may now be setting in.

Barnsley have used 19 players since the turn of the year, with seven starting every one of their 10 games.

In comparison, the Blues have called on 31 players for their 13 games played this season – although that included six of the club’s youngsters in their pursuit of Checkatrade Trophy glory.

Not one player has featured in all those games.

‘There are just a few boys that feel a bit fatigued, but there’s nothing new (injury-wise),’ Tonge told the Star during his Barnsley press conference.

‘The effort these boys have put in this season can’t be underestimated.

‘The style of play the gaffer wants, to sustain it to this point has been outstanding.

‘This is why the emphasis on the squad is so important. 

‘It’s massive (the game). It puts down a marker and puts down a bigger gap between us and Portsmouth and that’s our only aim this weekend.’

Barnsley (concussion) will be without 16-goal top scorer Kieffe Moore for their trip to the south coast.