The Big Match Preview: - Barnsley (H) - 25/04/15
Fresh from the Championship, Barnsley have probably just about managed expectations, despite a turbulent season. The board at Oakwell may have hoped for a play-off push, but consolidation was surely key for the Tykes as they got a feel for a division that they haven’t played in since 2006. Having changed managers during the season as well, meaning several changes in playing staff, being still in the play-off hunt until a couple of weeks ago was no mean feat.
Last Time Out:
Barnsley 1-1 Peterborough United – 18/04/15 at Oakwell
Scorers: Luke Berry (90)
Line-Up: Davies, Holgate, Cowgill (Bree 65), Nyatanga, Smith (John 54), Berry, Scowen, Digby (Pearson 55), Hourihane - Y, Lalkovic, Winnall
Current League Position
Barnsley are currently 11th in League One, just a goal behind the Bantams in 10th. Part of a group of four teams on 59 points, which includes Gillingham, Bradford and Peterborough; the Tykes are also a point behind Fleetwood Town, and four behind Rochdale in 7th. The play-off are out of reach for anybody below Rochdale and the objective for the pack of teams from Fleetwood in 8th, down to Doncaster Rovers in 13th is, 'can we finish 7th?'
Mark Yeates is still doubtful with a shoulder injury that has hindered him in recent weeks. Rory McArdle misses the second game of his two-match suspension, following his second red card of the season at Sheffield United last weekend. With this in mind, the manager could look to play either Christopher Routis or Gary Liddle at centre back with the other in centre midfield, continuing from the team that drew at Scunthorpe United in mid-week. Under 18s duo Reece Webb-Foster and Dylan Mottley-Henry could be pushing for some more game time, following their cameos in recent weeks.
Jean Yves-Mvoto and Dale Jennings look set to miss out with injury. Striker Sam Winnall is also a doubt for the game with a leg strain. Tykes manager Lee Johnson has to decide whether to stick with the young players that have seen so much game time as a collective since he came into the job. The likes of Mason Holgate, Jack Cowgill, Paul Digby, and Rhys Oates will all be pushing for a place in Johnson’s starting 11.
Last Meetings with Barnsley:
Our last meeting with the Tykes was in front of the Sky Cameras back in mid-October. Despite Jason Kennedy opening the scoring for the Bantams inside the opening 60 seconds, it was the hosts who would go on to seal all three points. A Rory McArdle own goal just into the second half was followed up by a goal from Sam Winnall, before Kane Hemmings wrapped up the points late on, in a 3-1 victory for his side.
Barnsley’s Recent Form
18/04/15 | Barnsley 1-1 Peterborough United | League One | D
14/04/15 | Notts County 1-1 Barnsley | League One | D
11/04/15 | Barnsley 1-1 Chesterfield | League One | D
06/04/15 | Colchester United 3-1 Barnsley | League One | L
04/04/15 | Barnsley 0-2 Sheffield United | League One | L
Signed from Plymouth Argyle in the summer, following Barnsley’s relegation, Hourihane has chipped in with 13 goals this season; a very admirable return for a central midfielder. The former Sunderland and Ipswich Town prospect has shown an eye for goal this season and is a threat from set-pieces. Despite the signing of Sam Winnall from Scunthorpe United, who was League Two’s runaway top scorer last season, Conor looks set to take the club’s golden boot.
Ref Watch – Scott Mathieson
Cheshire referee Scott Mathieson has an alarming rate of dishing out red cards this season. He has been in charge of only 17 games this season, but has brandished 41 yellow cards and 9 red cards, that’s 2.4 yellows per game on average, and 0.52 reds per game. His latest match was last weekend as he took charge of a 2-2 draw between Accrington Stanley and Stevenage in League Two. The last City fixture, he took charge of was the 1-0 defeat at Oldham Athletic back in September.
The Bantams are even, and significant favourite with skybet.com, to come out of this one on top and round off the home campaign on a high note. Double your money with a City victory. A tenner would get you £20, I think the maths is easy enough on this one…
Bradford – 1/1
Draws – 12/5
Barnsley – 11/4
Odds subject to change.