Barnsley: New found mental steel will help Reds in play-off push says Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson
Lee Johnson

Reds boss Lee Johnson is hopeful his side’s new mental toughness will guide them to play-off success.

A batting 0-0 draw away to Leyton Orient on Tuesday night saw the resurgent Reds stretch their impressive unbeaten run to seven games.

And although they failed to equal a 1955 record of winning seven games on the spin, a handsome haul of 19 points from a possible 21 in those seven games has given them a great shout at earning a sought-after place-off berth.

“We’re in the mix now, which is brilliant, and now we’ve got nine games to see what we can do,” said Johnson.

“I did say go and be history-makers but sometimes you have to look at the big picture.

“We’ve gone seven games unbeaten and now we’re ready to go again. It’s exciting.

“We’ve got some brilliant games to look forward, these are the games you want to be involved in as a footballer and a manager.

“We’re up there and everyone is getting excited. The fans are getting excited, so it’s important now we kick on.

“We’ve kept another clean-sheet and there were lots of positives.

“But we’ve got some tough games coming up so we do need to up-it in certain areas.

“However, mentally we were very strong and that’s a good thing.

“Maybe previous Barnsley teams would have crumbled under the pressure? But we kept trying to do the right things. That impressed me.”

The Reds host high-flying Preston on Saturday in an eagerly-anticipated War of the Roses showdown with both sides having gone seven games without defeat.

But Johnson will be without winger Milan Lalkovic.

The 22-year-old Slovakian is suspended for three matches having been given a straight red card for a two-footed challenge in the last minute of Tuesday’s draw.

Barnsley might appeal the decision with Johnson having admitted he will review the video footage to determine whether that would be appropriate.

But the new boss has been pleased with what he’s seen since taking over from Danny Wilson, especially an improved second-half showing against the O’s

“I have to say I’m pleased [with a point],” Johnson said. “I know you probably shouldn’t say you’re pleased with a point, but I knew it would be a tough game.

“I knew coming here after a tough game on Saturday [a 3-1 away win over former club Oldham Athletic’ was going to be emotionally draining.”