Strikers must step up to the mark says Reds boss

Lee Johnson celebrates after his side beat York
Lee Johnson celebrates after his side beat York

Barnsley boss Lee Johnson has called for his forward firepower to finally “come to the party” as the club look to end a miserable run of seven successive league defeats.

The Reds are third from bottom in League One after their worst losing run since 1959.

But Johnson’s charges host fellow-strugglers Port Vale on Saturday boosted by a confidence-boosting – and very welcome - 2-1 win over York City in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday night.

And Johnson hopes that win will inspire his misfiring side to get back on track on the league.

“We believe that we’ve still got some good players and particularly in the forward regions,” said Johnson.

“If the forward players come to the party, well then I’ve got no doubt we can affect anybody in the division.

“The win [in midweek] breeds that bit of confidence in the group. It was the JPT third round, but it felt like the World Cup final.

“It was a massive relief for us and an important day for us. It gives us something to build on.

“Points-wise Saturday is very important for and important for momentum because we want to start a run for ourselves in a positive way.

“There’s a good chance to get everybody behind us and get the vibe back again.

“But this game is no bigger for me that any other game. I want to win them all.”

The Valiants are also on a similar poor run to the Reds having won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions.

And Johnson has stressed his side need to try and take advantage to get their own season back on track with a win so desperately needed in the league.

“We’ve got to exploit that and take the game to them, that’s for sure,” said Johnson.

“It’s a tough challenge for us. They are a very experienced side and really solid.

“They are good, they are men and they are a big, but it’s a case of us trying to impose our game on them at home.

“Hopefully after our win [on Tuesday night], that will have brought a few more fans back in [to the ground] for us and they get behind the lads for 90 minutes.

“They’ve got a lot of experience, but they lost to Maidenhead [in the FA Cup], so they’ll be looking for an improvement on that.”

Midfielder Josh Scowen is expected to be sidelined for as long as 12 weeks with his medial ligament injury, while winger Ryan Williams is still recovering from a groin injury.

Trialist and former Reds midfielder Hugo Colace is unlikely to feature because he is short of fitness, with Johnson currently casting his eyes over a couple of potential out-of-contract players to strengthen his squad.