Let’s make history, Lee Johnson tells his Barnsley side ahead of Doncaster derby

Reds boss Lee Johnson
Reds boss Lee Johnson

Barnsley boss Lee Johnson has called for his players to re-write recent history against tomorrow’s South Yorkshire derby opponents Doncaster Rovers.

The Reds have not won in their last three visits to the Keepmoat Stadium and last won there in January 2011.

Reece Wabara may face his former club at the weekend

Reece Wabara may face his former club at the weekend

And coupled with the fact that they’ve not beaten Rovers in the last five meetings between the two local rivals, Johnson has challenged his on-song charges to finally grab some long-overdue bragging rights.

“We haven’t won there [at Doncaster] in a while, so there’s a marker for our players to get a win,” said Johnson.

“It would be good if our players could turn around that recent history and be heroes - at least for the weekend.

“We should go into the game with loads of energy, they’ll be no excuse not to have energy.

“We all want to be part of the big games and we want to provide wins in those big games.

“Let’s hope one of our players is the hero at the weekend and provides that winning goal to send everybody home happy.

“I will definitely be using the history aspect in my team talk and reminding the lads it hasn’t got gone well at the Keepmoat Stadium in recent years.

“But I’ll be challenging them to change that and hopefully Doncaster will be saying we’re their bogey team.”

Johnson’s side go into the fixture on the back of a promising three-game unbeaten run and the boss knows a victory could see his team climb into the sought-after top six in League One.

But he knows that Rovers present a dangerous test even though they remain managerless following the recent sacking of former manager Paul Dickov.

“We’ve got a genuine belief we’re heading in the right direction, but in this division you’ve got to respect every team,” added Johnson.

“I went to watch them on Tuesday at home to Swindon and I thought they were very good. “They’re a little low in confidence because of their league position, but it didn’t really show in their performance.

“In the second half they were up for it and they looked strong and effective.

“They’ve got a lot of big players and players experienced at this level – and they’ve spent a lot of money in the summer bringing in players like Andy Williams. He’s a good striker at this level.

“They’re a real danger and, if we’re not at our best, then we’ll get beat. So we have to make sure we’re at our best to give ourselves the best opportunity of winning.

“They’ve got a lot of quality players. James Coppinger, Richie Wellens and Rob Jones. You can through the team. I’ve got quite a lot of admiration for their team.

“They’ve been used to winning over a period of time and they got promoted. They’re decent and we’ve got to respect that.

“But they have got weaknesses and we have to try and exploit those weaknesses early and thoroughly.”

Former Fulham winger Ryan Williams is the only absentee for the Reds at this stage. The Australian is still trying to regain his fitness having struggled with a troublesome groin injury since he signed for the club, while defender Reece Wabara could start against his former club.