Portsmouth’s promotion rivals Barnsley insist they can cope with injury absences

Pompey’s automatic promotion rivals, Barnsley, have the squad depth to deal with notable absentees.

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 12:08 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 12:11 pm
Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

That's the view of Tykes assistant boss Dale Tonge ahead of their League One trip to relegation-threatened Walsall on Saturday.

Fourth-placed Blues have closed the gap on Barnsley – in second – to four points over the past two matches.

And Pompey could go to within a point of the automatic promotion places with victory at Shrewsbury tomorrow.

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Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Daniel Stendel’s men travel to the Bescot Stadium in front of the Sky cameras without four key players.

Midfielder Kenny Dougall and 18-goal striker Kieffer Moore have been ruled out for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Adam Davies and winger Ryan Hedges are away on international duty with Wales, meaning they will miss the game at Walsall.

And despite Barnsley being held to goalless draws in four of their past six league outings, assistant boss Tonge is confident they can remain in an automatic promotion spot.

He told www.thestar.co.uk: ‘We are without them, and losing Kenny Dougall was another blow.

‘But we have others coming back into the group and are fully confident in continuing our good form. 

‘It is another situation we will overcome as a group and hopefully it’s another reason why we will push forward as a team and get to where we want to be.

‘You have seen the players who have come in, they have done a job and it just shows how together they are.

‘We have trust in the group.’

Barnsley will be boosted by the return of four players at Walsall.

Midfielder Jacob Brown and Cameron McGeehan are available after suspension.

Ben Williams has returned from Wales under-21s duty, while defender Dani Pinillos has been passed fit following an eye problem.

And Tonge said those returning will give the club a big lift.

He added: ‘Any team in this league would miss those two players (McGeehan and Brown).

‘Their fitness isn’t a question, they did extra work with myself and sports science all week, so they will be fresh and ready to go and we cannot wait to have them back.

‘Fresh minds, they have had time to think, time to adjust and time to relax also.

‘Two fit and firing regular starters are good to have back.’