DELIGHTED Barnsley boss Mark Robins praised the effort of under fire striker Garry O’Connor in the thrilling 3-3 draw at Leeds United on Tuesday night.
Robins had previously criticised O’Connor’s lack of goals since joining the club but believes they will soon start to flow if he regularly replicates his performance at Elland Road.
“Garry’s work rate was much better and he worked a lot harder for the team,” Robins said.
“If he continues to work as hard as that then the performances will come and the goals will follow.
“He was a bit unlucky not to score against Leeds with the great chance he had.”
A late Kieran Trippier free kick earned Barnsley a point against the 10-man Whites.
Trippier’s free kick flew past the wall and an unsighted Kasper Schmeichel to draw Barnsley level eight minutes from time.
Skipper Jason Shackell put the Reds in front after just two minutes but Luciano Becchio levelled with a header.
Referee Mark Clattenburg controversially awarded a penalty after adjudging Matt Hill had fouled Max Gradel, who dusted himself down and put Leeds in front from the spot.
But Hill hit back in style after latching onto a Jacob Mellis through ball.
Bradley Johnson was sent off for a second yellow card but Leeds took the lead again through Gradel.
However, Barnsley pushed on and were rewarded with Trippier’s excellent strike.
Robins believes improved decision making would have seen his side win the game but was pleased with the spirit the Reds showed.
He said: “We need to be a bit better and make correct decisions but overall I was pleased with the spirit and effort.
“We had plenty of chances to win and we had done enough to win the game I thought.
“We were competitive for the whole match and that’s the first thing you need to do away from home.
“We need to maintain that work rate and effort and perform in every game.”
Robins could be without Nathan Doyle and Jacob Mellis for Saturday’s visit of Norwich.
Doyle was withdrawn at half time with a calf strain while Mellis had a tight hamstring after the game.
It took a stroke of look but Doncaster Rovers ended their horrendous run of form with a 1-1 draw at promotion chasing Norwich.
Rovers looked to be heading for a fourth straight defeat when Grant Holt put Norwich ahead.
But Adam Drury headed into his own net from a tricky John Oster corner to earn Rovers a point seven minutes from time.
It is now seven matches since a Rovers player found the net, with their two goals scored in that run being own goals.
They will be keen to remedy that when Watford visit the Keepmoat on Saturday.
Rotherham United boss Ronnie Moore has targeted a tighter defence to help with the top three push after picking up their first clean sheet in four matches last week.
The Millers shut out Accrington Stanley last midweek following a run of seven goals conceded in four matches.
And Moore is hoping to end another unwanted trend when the Millers visit Burton Albion on Saturday – that of five successive defeats on the road.
He said: ““We were hard to beat away from home last season but that hasn’t been the case this year.
“We just haven’t performed as a unit as a back four when we have come under pressure, particularly away from home.
“If we can start keeping clean sheets, we have got players going forward like Ryan Taylor, Ian-Thomas Moore, Alfie, Marcus Marshall, Nicky Law who can do some damage.
“It is just essential we start defending better as we have got enough strength in depth to be frightening most of the sides at this level.”
Moore has pointed to injuries and suspensions as the reason for the unrest in defence.
“We haven’t really had an established back four since the start of the season,” Moore said.
“We’ve had Ryan Cresswell, John Mullins, Dale Tonge and Tom Newey all out at certain stages.
“I’m not for making excuses but we’ve had to make a lot of changes.”
Moore has yet to give up hope of bringing back Danny Coid from Blackpool on loan to boost his defensive options.
Last Saturday’s postponed fixture against promotion rivals Shrewsbury Town did provide Moore with relief from his selection worries.
Ryan Taylor was doubtful with a groin problem but is likely to make his return for the trip to Burton.
Skipper Cresswell is nearer to making his return while Thomas-Moore has had more time to recover from his hamstring issue.