Opposition watch: Barnsley

The low-down on Saturday's opponents from Oakwell

With Wanderers currently holding the upper hand in clashes with their Barnsley counterparts with 14 wins as opposed to the Tykes’ 12, last season’s meetings between the two sides were the first in over a decade.

Matches which produced a 1-1 draw at the Reebok Stadium and a 3-2 victory for the Whites at Oakwell back in March of last year, Saturday’s clash at BL6 will see Dougie Freedman’s side aiming to record a league double over Danny Wilson’s men having secured a 1-0 win in the reverse fixture on Boxing Day.

They will however come up against a Barnsley side aiming to climb clear of the Championship drop zone, with the Yorkshire outfit currently residing in 23rd position in the league standings.

After narrowly avoiding relegation to League One on the final day of last season though, the Barnsley faithful will be hoping history can repeat itself as the campaign heads towards its conclusion.

A team who were rock bottom of the Championship at the time of manager Wilson’s return to Oakwell back in December, back-to-back wins against Reading and Yeovil Town last month saw the Tykes narrow the gap between themselves and the teams outside the relegation zone.

With his sights firmly set on steering Barnsley towards safety, Wilson moved to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window with experienced figures such as Liam Lawrence being drafted in, while Emmanuel Frimpong, Martin Woods, Jack Hunt, Ryan McLaughlin and Nick Proschwitz all made respective moves to Oakwell.

The form of striker Chris O’Grady has certainly been crucial in Barnsley’s bid to remain a member of the second tier of English football, with the frontman having signed permanent terms last summer following a successful loan spell with the club.

With 13 goals to his name during the current campaign – almost a third of the team’s entire league haul – the former England youth international notched against the Whites in last season’s meeting at Oakwell and will remain a threat come kick off on Saturday afternoon.

Currently sitting five points shy of 21st placed Charlton Athletic who boast a game in hand, Barnsley come up against the Addicks next Tuesday evening – a game which could arguably define each side’s season.

Despite having picked up form of late with just one defeat in their last four outings, Wilson and his side will be more than aware of the tough run-in which they face during the final weeks of the campaign with the likes of Derby County and Queens Park Rangers yet to come.

Having proven their critics wrong last season however, the Tykes will be hoping for a case of déjà vu in their bid to retain their Championship status.
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