Barnsley are the Championship's form team warns Bristol City head coach Sean O'Driscoll
Sean O’Driscoll believes his Bristol City players will face the Championship’s form team when they host Barnsley at Ashton Gate on Saturday.
The Tykes may be just two points above the relegation zone, but they are enjoying a transformation in fortunes under new manager David Flitcroft.
Since succeeding the sacked Keith Hill at the turn of the year, Flitcroft has presided over eight wins and a draw in 10 games, a startling run that has seen Barnsley reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and exit the Championship relegation zone.
Charged with the task of inflicting defeat upon the Yorkshire outfit for the first time since January 1, O’Driscoll acknowledged: “Barnsley are the form team of the division.
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“It is a bit unfortunate to have to play two of the top sides away from home (Cardiff and Crystal Palace)and then come up against a rejuvenated Barnsley team that has won eight of its last nine games.
“They beat Middlesbrough away, progressed in the FA Cup against MK Dons and then got a vital win at home to Wolves. They will be full of confidence for sure.
“Once again, we are facing a difficult game. But that seems to be the mantra in the Championship where there are no easy games. That is why the division is so tight.”
O’Driscoll insists his players remain confident despite back-to-back defeats on the road that have left City six points adrift of safety at the foot of the table.
He said: “Confidence is a fickle thing and it comes and goes. We went into the last two games full of confidence after a very good win over Nottingham Forest and we wanted to make sure we came through with it intact.
“The spirit is still there and the players have great belief in their ability and in what they are trying to do.”
Although City supporters are building the game up into a “must-win” affair, O’Driscoll is keen to play down the significance of Saturday’s fixture.
He reasoned: “Whatever position you are in, whether you are fighting relegation or top of the league and going for promotion, you have to take it one game at a time and take each game on its merits.
“We have to try and approach it like any other game and not put any added pressure onto the fixture. Every team has strengths and every team has weaknesses and we have to be consistent in what we look at and try to improve
“We have been organised and disciplined and we need to keep that and add a little bit of quality to our play.”