Barnsley manager Gerhard Struber has claimed that the conclusion of the 2019/20 season will offer his side “a big chance” to show they have what it takes to survive in the Championship.
All EFL fixtures have been suspended for more than a month and it remains unclear if, how, and when the current campaign will be concluded.
There have been contrasting suggestions and reports about how the season will end during the delay but with the season set to restart in Germany in early May, it seems things may be moving in the right direction.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Struber revealed that he believes his side are capable of securing Championship survival this term.
He said: “I think when the games are abandoned and we have no chance to play in the next few weeks, it is clear the league and all the games have no value. This is not so easy for many clubs but it is the only fair-play rule.
“The most important thing is for it to be safe. This is the biggest responsibility for my players and staff. For everyone to be safe. (But) when we start, we have nine games and a final situation. It’s a big chance in a new competition for my players to show and we will take the chance to climb out of the relegation zone.
“We believe we can stay in the league. We have a very difficult situation behind us. I took a team in November with no faith, no hope – but I think my ideas have given the players good confidence. The performances and the victories give the players a good feeling and belief they can stay in the league.
“We believe we can do it and this is the most important thing when we go into the final nine games; that we have the right motivation.”
The Tykes face an uphill battle if and when the season does resume as they’re bottom of the Championship as things stand – seven points adrift of safety.
Struber took charge of the Yorkshire club in November and though they remain bottom of the table, the Austrian has helped improve their fortunes on the pitch.
When he arrived at the club, Barnsley had won just once in their first 16 games. They have won seven times in their 19 games since but still face a difficult task when the campaign gets back underway.
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Struber’s confidence may not be reflected by some Barnsley fans but it is an approach that he has to take as the Tykes boss.
The performances have certainly improved since the Austrian’s arrivals but the crux of the matter is that they remain on course for relegation.
Closing a seven-point gap in nine games will not be easy but the number of sides sitting just above bottom three hints that it isn’t over yet.