Stability is key for the Reds as they prepare for MK Dons test

Danny Wilson
Danny Wilson

Barnsley boss Danny Wilson is craving stability ahead of this weekend’s away clash with League One high-fliers MK Dons.

The Reds were thumped 5-3 by Karl Robinson’s side earlier in the season when the two sides clashed at Oakwell.

And Wilson understandably doesn’t want a repeat performance of the Reds’ worst defensive display of the campaign.

“I learnt about our defending on the day,” reflected a rueful Wilson.

“Their [MK Dons] strength is their attacking side and they’re quite expansive the way they play.

“But sometimes that [attacking nature] can be their Achilles heel at times. They throw a lot of bodies forward, so sometimes they are vulnerable.

“We’ve just got to make sure we pick those chances and capitalise them.”

Wilson’s squad has been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks and the return of loan players to their parents club.

And that’s one of the main reasons the manager has signed five new players since the transfer window re-opened.

But this weekend’s clash at Stadium:mk Wilson is without skipper Martin Cranie, still missing with a knee injury, as well as star striker Sam Winnall and talented young gun James Bree.

Highly-rated defender Mason Holgate is also absent as he serves the first game of a three-match ban for his 90th minute red card in last Saturday’s frustrating 1-0 South Yorkshire derby defeat to Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“It has been frustrating at times this season not having a settled side, but when we get one hopefully the results will come,” said Wilson.

He admitted: “There’s nothing more I would like than to keep a settled side on a regular basis.

“We’re looking for that consistency – and that starts with the selection.

“It’s about getting that right blend at this moment in time and hoping we don’t get as many of these injuries which have caused us a little bit of upset.

“I’ve got my best 11 starting players in mind, but whether or not we can get it together or not is a different matter.

“If we had that starting XI, which I’d like to put out, then we feel that would give us that balance and quality going forward.

“And the knock on effect is our ability to get results and score goals when we’ve got our best side.

“That also incudes the substitute’s bench as well, which is also an important dynamic to us.

“I’m very predictable in one respect because if the team is doing well I don’t change it a great deal.

“But I think, in these last few weeks in particular, we’ve had to change a position every week, which is not ideal.

“However, like I’ve said many times, it gives opportunities to other players to throw markers down [for regular places].”

And Wilson revealed he is still actively chasing as many as TWO more new signings before the transfer window shuts at the end of this month.

“We’re certainly trying to get one, maybe two players to come in, but we’ll just have to see if it’s feasible in the window.”