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Lawrence now a believer

By Doug O'Kane, Sports Editor Friday 11th April 2014
Liam Lawrence.

Liam Lawrence admits he doubted whether Barnsley could stay up before the last four matches but now insists that they will win their fight against relegation to League One despite Tuesday's loss to Burnley which left them five points adrift of safety.

 

The 32-year-old midfielder had barely featured for the Reds after arriving in January until he starred in the wins at Reading and Yeovil. He said: "Before the Reading game, I was pessimistic about our chances and disappointed with my time at Barnsley but now I believe we can do it because we have played very well recently. "We got the wins at Reading and Yeovil then should have had another one against Brighton on Saturday but we drew 0-0.

 

"Our confidence took a bit of a knock against Burnley but we still believe. People might be writing us off but we know we can still do it. We have to look back at what we did at Reading and Yeovil and take confidence."

 

Lawrence says it is now or never for Barnsley this week as they face two 'season-defining' games at mid-table Bolton tomorrow and fourth-bottom Charlton on Tuesday night which is a game in hand.

 

He said: "Ever since the Burnley game, we have been saying in the dressing room that the games against Bolton and Charlton will define our season. We can't even think about what the table will look like if we don't get good results in those games.

 

"It is not easy to forget about Charlton because it could be such a pivotal game but we have to focus on Bolton for now. You do think about the whole season and I am hoping that we beat QPR on the last day to stay up. We need to be strong, competitive and consistent.  Nobody wants to go down, not the players or the people in the town."

 

Lawrence insists he wasn't injured for Tuesday's game against Burnley but that manager Danny Wilson made the right decision to leave him out so that he could be fit for the final six games. Wilson claimed Lawrence – who has impressed since moving to central midfield in recent weeks – had a calf injury after the midweek loss in which he had to rearrange his side and change to a 4-5-1 due to Lawrence's absence.

 

Republic of Ireland international said: "I just felt a bit stiff so the manager decided to rest me. I had not really been playing so to have three games in nine days (against Reading, Yeovil and Brighton) took a lot out of me.  It was probably the right decision because I wouldn't have been at my most energetic, flying around the pitch making tackles and runs.

 

"But I hope it won't happen again. As I get more games under my belt it should get easier.  We haven't got many games left now so I want to be available for all of them and help the team stay up."