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Fixture News

Hot off the Press: Barnsley

Leon Wobschall of the Yorkshire Post previews Sunday's game

28 September 2019

Though the results have left Barnsley close to the foot of the table, they are yet to lose by more than a two-goal margin and remain above Stoke and Huddersfield, who’ve both been in the Premier League in recent years. What have you made of their season so far?

They follow a model where the owner has said he’s not going to buy anybody over the age of 23; it’s a model that some people don’t like and they are pretty much buying to sell. In comparison to the rest of the division, they’ve next to no Championship experience at all, especially with the likes of Adam Davies and Liam Lindsay leaving in the summer. If you look at the side, they’ve got Alex Mowatt who played in the division with Leeds, but he’s only 24 and pretty much everywhere else on the pitch, there’s little second tier experience. Somebody said in the summer that it was Barnsley’s biggest strength and it’s the biggest weakness because a lot of managers, at the start of the season, weren’t really sure how strong they were going to be. On the other hand, they haven’t got that nouse and it could prove to be a weakness. It’s something that former manager Paul Heckingbottom used to reference quite a lot, but they’ve said they aren’t going to go down the experienced route.

I think, if Barnsley do finish above the bottom three, it will have been a good season and I think Daniel Stendel will be the first to say that as he’s got inward concerns about the lack of experience with this model. On the first day of the season, they played Fulham and it’s fair to say they caught them cold with a really vibrant display and a good win. In a funny sort of way, it was the best thing that happened to Fulham, welcoming them back to the Championship. After the Fulham game, they lost the first two away games at Sheffield Wednesday and Birmingham 2-0 and they were pretty comprehensive defeats. They had to factor in a home defeat to Carlisle in the Carabao Cup as well, when they lost 3-0. You can get some funny results in that competition, but 3-0 at home to a League Two side – and it was still a fairly decent side – that was a bit worrying, really. At the end of the month, they had a big game against Luton, who got promoted from League One with them last season. I covered that game and it was a really worrying performance, not least because it was their first home defeat in about 18 months. They were 3-0 down at half-time and defensively they were absolutely atrocious. It ended 3-1 and there was some real worry after that result, though they did have a fair few injuries to contend with at the time. I think it was important before the international break to get something and they went away to Wigan and dug out a 0-0 with a patched-up side. Even though they’ve lost their last two games, they’ve been really unlucky. They played Leeds and were really unlucky as, for 80 minutes, they were much the better side and to be fair to Marcelo Bielsa, he basically said the same thing afterwards and was quite complimentary towards Barnsley. Even though Leeds won, it’s probably the best opponents they’ve faced this season – Barnsley really took it to them. Last week as well, they lost 1-0 at Forest and it was another really good performance, they just needed to be more clinical in both boxes, I suppose. Even though they’ve lost six of the last eight and they haven’t won in eight, they are not totally downhearted. They’ve got three of the next four at home and if they can get a couple of wins out of those, it will be a reward for some of the good performances they’ve been turning in.

One of the players to depart for pastures new was Brentford’s Ethan Pinnock. What sort of reception is the defender likely to receive on his return to Oakwell?

I’m not entirely sure, to be quite honest. Barnsley were quite public in the fact they made him an offer to make him the top earner at the club but I think most sensible, logical-minded supporters should give him a decent reception because he was outstanding last year and got in the PFA Team of the Year. He’s a good lad as well and formed a good partnership with Liam Lindsay. You just hope some of the younger ones who go on social media all the time and troll people will just behave themselves, really. I think there will be one or two grumbles, but I don’t think – touch wood – it will be too bad because Barnsley did get half-decent money for him, even though they were disappointed that he left. Hopefully it’ll not be too bad, but I think he’ll get a few jeers.

Which player should Brentford fans be keeping an eye on this weekend?

Well, Mallik Wilks – who signed from Leeds - played very well in the first game of the season. He’s a real live-wire and has put in some decent performances at home. Alex Mowatt is almost the senior head in midfield; he’s got that quality with his left peg and I suppose he’s overdue a goal. Luke Thomas on the other wing had a good game against Nottingham Forest and there’s obviously Cauley Woodrow as well. He’s got a little bit of pedigree in the Championship, having scored goals for Fulham, and he’s pretty much Barnsley’s main man up front. He came back from injury and won Goal of the Month. If the chances do come along, most fans would like him to be on the end of them.

How are Barnsley likely to set-up on Sunday?

It will be a 4-2-3-1. They’ll have Woodrow up front, with Wilks and Thomas at either side. They’ll have Mowatt in the middle and Toby Sibbick – who was brought in as a defender – has been playing in a defensive midfield role and has done really well. They’ve have Mads Andersen, Jordan and Ben Williams and Dimitri Cavare to come in in defence as well, so they do have a few options, as well as some players returning from injury. Also, considering they are on an eight-game winless streak, they aren’t in too bad a frame of mind.

What's you score prediction for the game?

I’ll go for a 2-2 draw.

Tickets are on sale tomorrow from the North Stand Turnstiles (cash only).  Juniors Tickets will only be available from the Barnsley Home Ticket Office (not available on the turnstiles).






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*Juniors under 12 price is only applicable when purchased alongside an adult or over 65s ticket.

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