Barnsley boss Michael Duff makes telling Portsmouth observation as he shows admiration for John Mousinho's Fratton Park work

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Michael Duff believes Pompey are evolving fast under John Mousinho.

And it’s not just the Blues’ points tally under the former Oxford defender that makes the Barnsley boss see it.

Instead, the Northern Irishman believes there’s been a noticeable difference in the way the team plays under the – and that’s all down to Mousinho’s methods.

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Tenth-placed Pompey head to Oakwell on Tuesday night hoping to narrow the nine-point gap that currently separates them and the Tykes, who occupy the final play-off place.

Twenty points from Mousinho’s first 10 games in charge suggests that is more achievable now than before the turn of the year, when his Fratton Park predecessor, Danny Cowley, collected just 11 from his last 14 games at the helm.

Liam Kitching’s last-gasp equaliser for Barnsley at Fratton Park last month denied Pompey a seventh win in that period.

And as the Blues head north for the return game in Yorkshire, Duff is well aware of the growing influence Mousinho is having on the south-coast side.

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He told the Barnsley website: ‘They've started to pick up under John.

Barnsley boss Michael Duff on his visit to Fratton Park last monthBarnsley boss Michael Duff on his visit to Fratton Park last month
Barnsley boss Michael Duff on his visit to Fratton Park last month

‘You can see his methods starting to creep into the team, they want to play.

‘It will be a tough challenge. They'll still think they have a chance of play-offs. We're in sixth place so if they beat us they get three points closer!

‘I think John's won six out of his 10 games. I think they've won three out of the last four. The only game they've lost recently is Plymouth away. I don't think they're on their own getting beaten at Plymouth! It's going to be a tough challenge.

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‘John spent a lot of time with and learned a lot from Karl Robinson. They were 4-3-3, they've been a different version of it in the last couple of games.

‘You look at the threats - they're all over the pitch. They'll be well supported like they always are. It's a good squad.’