Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom is hoping his tired squad can bounce back from a miserable run of four successive defeats tomorrow.
The Reds host high-flying Derby County at Oakwell looking to give themselves a welcome boost having scored only once in their last 360 minutes of competitive football.
“We’ve been showing signs of fatigue,” admitted Heckingbottom.
“The intensity has not been there. We’ve got to be really wary of that.
“We were through the roof for six or seven games. No-one could compete with us.
“Last season we prepared for barren spells and we’ve done the same this season.
“If you want to get better and compete at this level, you have to go through these times and get stronger.
“And then hopefully, gradually, year on year, you get better and you have less of these hard times.”
The Rams have won three of their last four league matches while the Reds have slipped to 19th in the table having previously been on a four-game unbeaten run.
Heckingbottom knows that his young squad, many of whom are playing Championship football for the first time, still have room for continued improvement.
“The youthful exuberance of the players has been spot on,” he said.
“They’ve been excited to playing in this league, but the body has also done things it’s not done before.
“We do push them, but we have to because someone of the players have not played at this level before.
“The difference this season is that it’s some players’ first league football, never mind Championship football.
“Internally they might have doubts about themselves This is where we have to work harder with them.”
Defender Zaki Fryers is a doubt for the weekend with a bruised knee, while defender Angus MacDonald is definitely missing through illness.