Events off the field involving Wigan Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday have only muddied the relegation waters in recent weeks but Barnsley know that, in all likelihood, only a win tonight will see them compete in the second tier next term.
Sunday's dramatic late victory over Nottingham Forest left The Tykes two points from safety and continued their fine recent run. Including their final five matches pre-lockdown, Gerhard Struber's men have taken 21 points from the last 39 available, recording wins over Fulham, QPR, Blackburn Rovers, and Forest along the way.
That form is a far cry from their 18-game winless run which followed an opening day victory over Fulham. Daniel Stendel paid with his job in the midst of that slump with Austrian coach Struber picking up the reins in November.
A lack of cutting edge has been The Tykes downfall this campaign. Only the current top three average more shots per game but only Middlesbrough have scored fewer than Barnsley's 47 league goals. Cauley Woodrow (14) and Connor Chaplin (11), pictured above, have more than half those goals with centre-back Aapo Halme third on their scoring charts with four.
A midfielder, Struber spent the majority of his playing career with SV Austria Salzburg winning the Austrian Bundesliga and Austrian Super Cup during the 1996-97 season. In 2001, Struber departed SV and spent seven years playing for clubs in Austria's top two tiers before returning to Salzburg and retiring in 2008.
After working in IT and insurance, while coaching Academy and lower league teams, Struber quit his job to focus on coaching in 2014. He continued to work within the RB Salzburg academy until he took charge of FC Liefering in 2017. He spent 18 months with the second-tier side before joining Wolfsburger AC last July. However, after 21 matches he swapped the Europa League side for Barnsley in November.
Thomas gave the squad a clean bill of health during yesterday's pre-match press conference.
For Barnsley, Elliot Simoes has missed their last two games while Malik Wilks made his loan move to Hull permanent earlier this month.
🆚 BBC Yorkshire's Rob Staton previews tonight's game
⚖ Robert Jones will be the man in charge
THOMAS FRANK PRESS CONFERENCE
LAST TIME OUT
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