Barnsley have the bulldog spirit

THE Toby Tyke on Barnsley's badge is not just the mascot but epitomises the club's bulldog spirit, as Ipswich Town skipper Richard Naylor knows all too well.

Derek Davis

THE Toby Tyke on Barnsley's badge is not just the mascot but epitomises the club's bulldog spirit, as Ipswich Town skipper Richard Naylor knows all too well.

Naylor spent a seven-game loan spell at Oakwell and understands the gritty south Yorkshire attitude within the Barnsley camp.

Although the Tykes are second-bottom of the Championship table ahead of Nottingham Forest on goal difference, with no away wins all season and have failed to score in four matches, Naylor knows they won't be a good dog and just roll over and have their belly tickled at Portman Road.

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Naylor said: “They punch above their weight and are not a big club by any stretch of the imagination. Over the past few years they got promoted and they have always been there or thereabouts in our league.

“The faces change year on year but the attitude doesn't. It is similar to our attitude towards playing football and that always remains.”

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Barnsley beat Town 4-1 last March after a goal-less draw at Portman Road earlier in the season and Naylor is not expecting an open game tonight.

Naylor said: “Barnsley are never an easy team to play. They are not a

team full of big names but they are a good, honest bunch of players and will give us a good test.

“It is a massive game for us and all we can focus on is getting the three points, doing the right things, and on how we are playing, then results will take care of themselves.

“They scored two straight from corners which was disappointing at the time but we are two different teams now.”

Along with Gareth McAuley Naylor has been told to contribute more goal-wise from the back, while at the same time stem the flow of silly goals from set plays.

Naylor said: “It is about time we scored from set plays. We have both been unlucky at times but our main focus is to keep them out at the other end.”

The lack of goals for Barnsley won't be helped with last season's 15-goal top scorer Brian Howard set for a move to Sheffield United and Jon Macken an injury doubt.

Howard, who has been with the club since their promotion-winning season from League One in 2005-06, played a starring role in the Tykes' FA Cup giant-killing run last term, firing home a dramatic winner against Liverpool before leading the side to a second famous victory over Chelsea at Oakwell.

That led to speculation over his future in South Yorkshire but he started the season with Simon Davey's side despite having just a year left on his contract.

But the hard-working midfielder now looks set to join Sheffield United on loan before tying up a £600,000 transfer in January - a hammer blow for a Barnsley side who have mustered only five points from their first eight league matches.

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