PREVIEW: Barnsley v Wanderers

Wanderers travel to South Yorkshire on Friday night for the second leg of their League One play-off semi-final against Barnsley.

The tie is finely poised following a 1-1 draw at the University of Bolton Stadium last Saturday.

Dion Charles’ instant reply to Nicky Cadden’s opener for Barnsley meant that nothing separates the sides heading back to Oakwell for a winner-takes-all meeting.

Away goals don’t count in the tie, with extra-time and then penalties deciding who goes through to contest the final promotion spot at Wembley if the scores remain level.

Sheffield Wednesday await the victors in the final on Monday, 29th May with Papa Johns Trophy winners Wanderers hoping to secure a second visit this season to the national stadium.

Manager quotes

Ian Evatt:

“It’s still a very even game. Two evenly matched teams. A very well-coached, organised team in Barnsley and I know we have more to give.

“I think Michael (Duff) said after the first game he was delighted with their performance. I really wasn’t from ours. I think there’s more to come and if we can get to those levels, I think we have a good chance of winning.

“We didn’t affect their plan enough. We’ve looked at it and learned from it and I think we’ll find the solutions that can cause them a few more problems.

“We’ve got one or two missing, who were injured in the game on Saturday, but the squad is there. There’s a squad depth for a reason and we’ll have to utilise that and make sure we’re ready.

“Everyone’s looking forward to it. We’re still very much in the tie. We have to win one game of football, so we will go there and do our best to win that game.”

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Michael Duff:

“We are playing against a good team and I think it is going to be a tight affair. But the performance was good the other day and we need another five or 10 per cent in our performance and hopefully the crowd can help us with that.

“There will be a bit more support for us (at home) which might give the lads an extra five yards, but I'd imagine it will be a tactical affair again.

“We want to get on the front foot, as we always do. They made a couple of tweaks in the second half, we made a couple of tweaks. I don't envisage the game being massively different.

“I don't see any team winning four or five nil just because of the quality within the teams. We have two different ways of playing. They want to dominate the ball and build slowly and we are a bit more high tempo and aggressive with a high press.”

Team News

Wanderers’ boss Ian Evatt reported a couple of knocks and un-named absentees for the second leg and will weigh up his squad accordingly.

Barnsley are expected to have the same set of players available from the squad that featured in Saturday’s 1-1 draw.

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Form guide

By their own admission, Wanderers didn’t hit their peak levels of performance in the first leg but still found an equaliser to make it just one loss in their last 11 games.

The Whites will also take confidence from a 3-0 victory at Barnsley earlier in the season when goals from Dion Charles, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Kyle Dempsey secured three points.

This will be the fifth time the two sides have faced each other this season.

The league meeting at Wanderers also produced a draw, with Barnsley gaining their sole win of the sequence with a 2-1 FA Cup first-round success in November.

Barnsley – who finished one place above fifth-placed Wanderers in the table – lost their last two home games of the regular season to Ipswich and Peterborough, having already secured their play-off place.


Referee: Michael Salisbury

Assistant Referees: Matthew Jones and Philip Dermott

Fourth Official: Dean Whitestone


Friday, 8pm


Tickets for all open areas of the ground are sold out.

Wanderers’ Fan Zone at the University of Bolton Stadium is open for a screening of the match. Entry is free but tickets need to be booked HERE


Supporters living outside of the UK can watch the game live via BWFC iFollow with a match pass, which can be purchased HERE

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