Barnsley bid to move off bottom with a win at Colchester

Barnsley boss Lee Johnson celebrates the win at Wigan

Barnsley boss Lee Johnson celebrates the win at Wigan

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Barnsley boss Lee Johnson is growing in confidence that his side will produce the form to get them off the bottom of the division.

A confidence-boosting Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Northern Area semi-final win over Wigan Athletic has left the Reds withing touching distance of dream Wembley final.

And a welcome win and draw in the league, following a miserable losing run, has restored the faith and excited the club’s frustrated supporters.

But Johnson, whose side take on Colchester United at the Weston Homes Community Stadium tomorrow, knows his side remain rooted to the foot of League One and still have plenty to do to turn things around.

“We’ve held a steady shape for the last few matches and you hope we can keep improving on performances like the Wigan game,” said Johnson.

“If we do that the there’s no doubt in my mind we’ll keep climbing the league.”

And Johnson knows victory over the U’s, who have lost five on the bounce in the league, could see them finally haul themselves out of the relegation zone.

“They’re a very good side going forward, but they’ve obviously conceded a lot of goals this year,” added Johnson.

“But I think they have dangerous players, so it will be a tough game for us.

“It’s a journey for us, but the boys are up for it. I think they’ve been buoyed by the performance and win over Wigan . I can feel within the ranks that they know this one is important – and we know if we beat them we can go above them.

“We’ll be going there with our game plan and, if the lads can administer that and take their chances, we’ve got a very good chance of winning.

“Our focus is on winning this very important game.”

Midfielder Josh Scowen remains sidelined with a medial knee ligament injury, while Burnley loan defender Kevin Long is missing for one more match through suspension.

Winger Ryan Williams is approaching full fitness, but is more likely to be used as a substitute this weekend.

Johnson, whose side have not kept a cleansheet since beating Gillingham 2-0 at home on September 26 – a run of 15 games – knows things need to improve at the back if they are going to move up the table.

“We need to tighten up, there’s been far too many individual errors.

“Not a lot of our goals have been really poor tactically, it’s been individual mistakes.

“I’m not sure what this is. Whether it’s the players switching off or just not concentrating, I don’t know?

“Or maybe it’s a change of players which is needed or just a bit of confidence that a couple of wins give you.

“But it would be good to get a cleansheet. Our workrate in the last five or six games has really deserved one.

“We’ve addressed our defensive problems by bringing in a few new players, but it’s also about adding the competition to those areas to make players compete for the shirt.

“It’s about getting that competition all over the pitch, so all the players know they have a fight on their hands to stay in the team.”