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Tykes on an away-day mission

17 September 2013

By Tony Leighton

Barnsley will step out at Bournemouth on Tuesday evening searching for their first away points of the Sky Bet Championship season but with manager David Flitcroft confident that his team are not set for another long relegation battle.

The Tykes escaped the drop only on the final day of last season and have not made the best of starts to the new campaign, collecting just four points - all of them at home - from their first six outings to lie third from bottom of the table.

They have conceded more goals, 16, than any other club in the division and when they face the Cherries, Flitcroft's men will be looking for their first away victory in 11 matches since beating Middlesbrough 3-2 at the Riverside in February.

But Flitcroft, who led last term's successful survival fight after being appointed at the end of December with the Tykes sitting bottom of the table, told "I've got massive belief in this squad, in this group of players.

"I've watched a few performances and we're certainly going to get better and better as we develop the squad. We've got some catching up to do in terms of getting points on the board, but I believe that we can go and beat Bournemouth."

As he looks to develop his squad, Flitcroft has moved to shore up his defence by bringing Crystal Palace's former Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers and Birmingham City central defender Peter Ramage in on a season-long loan.

The manager said of the experienced, 29-year-old centre-back: "Peter has got quality and great leadership skills. He organises, he wants to lead and he's a player we certainly need at the football club to take us forward."

The Barnsley back four should be more solid with the introduction of Ramage, who performed well on his debut at Nottingham Forest on Saturday despite Forest winning the game 3-2 to hand the Tykes a third successive away defeat.

It is not just in Flitcroft's team's defending, however, but in every area of the pitch that the manager will be looking for improvement in order for the Tykes to climb out of a predicament they know only too well from last season.

"I've said to the team that even at this early stage of the season games can start running out. We need to not come away with an unlucky story or 'could've done this, could've done that' - what we need is points on the board."

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