Opposition watch: Barnsley

A low down on Thursday's opponents from Yorkshire, Barnsley

The Whites will make their first trip across the Pennines this season on Boxing Day to face Yorkshire outfit Barnsley.

It will be the third successive away game for Bolton were they have faced a team whose manager is looking forward to their inaugural home game. 

The new man at the helm, Danny Wilson, is back for a second spell in charge at Oakwell after his previous tenure ended in 1998. 

A former Tykes striker, Wilson is a cult hero in South Yorkshire after he guided the club to the top flight in the mid-1990s for the first time in their history. 

Having taken over from David Flitcroft, Wilson’s Barnsley find themselves bottom of the Championship table with 16 points to their name but remain only three points away from safety. 

Barnsley’s last home win in the league came back in October against Middlesbrough, and with two games at Oakwell inside four days, the Yorkshire club will be looking to finish 2013 in style. 

Boxing Day’s encounter will be the 38th meeting between the two clubs, with Bolton having the slight upper hand with 13 wins compared to Barnsley’s 12. 

The Whites are also unbeaten in the last eight meetings between the teams – a record which they will be hoping to extend come the final whistle on Thursday - with Barnsley’s last league victory over the Whites back in the 1997/98.

Neil Goulding – Barnsley reporter from The Sheffield Star

“Barnsley’s season has so far been one to forget. There have been few highlights for the Tykes but the arrival of new boss Danny Wilson has given the South Yorkshire club a welcome boost ahead of a busy period of festive fixtures.

“Wilson arrived for a second spell at Oakwell and in his first game on charge last Saturday he guided the Tykes to battling point in their derby clash with Leeds United at Elland Road.

“But overall this term the Tykes, who only avoided relegation on the last day of last season, have been struggling badly for form.

“They have only won three times in 21 league outings and a record of a disappointing 11 defeats is the main reason why the club are once again locked in a relegation fight.

“Midfielder Jacob Mellis will definitely miss this one, suspended for one match having collected five yellow cards.

“And Nottingham Forest loan striker Marcus Tudgay is absent as well, missing for the next three matches having been sent-off against Leeds.

“Playmaker Paddy McCourt (hamstring) and leading scorer Chris O’Grady (calf) are both major doubts to play any part.”

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