Reds manager David Flitcroft is worried star midfielder Paddy McCourt will get injured if teams copy Reading and try to stop him with fouling tactics.
Flitcroft was disappointed that referee Chris Sarginson did not book any Royals players on Tuesday night as several of them repeatedly fouled the skillful Irishman and has called for officials to be stronger in future.
Flitcroft told the Chronicle: "We need a strong referee to protect Paddy. It becomes a gang mentality to stop him with different players fouling one player but the referee can end it early with bookings."
McCourt played less than 100 league games in five seasons at Celtic but was a cult hero there and has already become popular with Barnsley fans in his three games.