Barnsley v Bristol City
Barnsley v Bristol City, Sat 15:00, Oakwell.
If there was ever a time to prove some fans wrong and finally win an away game, this would be perfect. Momentum has grown after a three goal victory I'm not sure many predicted against west-country rivals Plymouth. Barnsley are a different beast however, and under new manager Mark Robins they have had some good results recently.
Having enjoyed a torrid start to the season, their Championship position of 20th belies the talent that sits within their squad. Three wins from the last four games will have done wonders for their confidence and they certainly believe they can take three points from us today - and why not?
Our performances away from home (apart from Cardiff) have not been all bad, but if this dry run on the road continues, I fear the impact it could have on the squad. I also believe that Barnsley should be clear favourites for this one and that a draw for City would be a good result, especially when you look at the top of the Championship.
Both teams play a fairly different style of football and with City still apparently unsure of the formation I predict a fairly slow start to the game, and would not be surprised if it was 0-0 at half time (we all know what looks like). Barnsley have in fact had the least amount of shots on goal in the division.
City have not won (or scored) in the previous three visits to Oakwell and have only scored three away goals so far this season. The forecast is also pissing rain and dark clouds so this could be a pretty uplifting afternoon all round!
I could speculate on team news here but frankly, I have no clue what the starting line up will be. Elliot was not favoured against Plymouth and hasn't enjoyed the best start to the season, Saborio looked laboured after his long international break and Gavin Williams appears to be fully match fit now adding more selection 'problems'.
'We won't be rotating things for the sake of it, of course, I don't do things like that. But I want to keep the whole squad happy.' Johnson places little importance on starting formations, arguing that they change throughout the game which is fair enough. On Barnsley, Gary said 'They'll play good football. They won't pass it as much as the likes of Doncaster or Swansea, probably half of that, but they'll get it forward quicker.'.
Barnsley skipper Stephen Foster is approaching the game confident of a win. 'Bristol are a good footballing side with pace and we will have to be on our toes. We are a very confident squad at the moment...We just want three points on Saturday and that is all anyone here is bothered about. You will not find anyone looking past this weekend's game with Bristol City and getting a win here at Oakwell is all that matters'.
Barnsley team news: The Reds have a fully fit squad to choose from, which includes defender Bobby Hassell who has recovered from an achilles injury.
Bristol City team news: Liam Fontaine is still out injured but the rest of the squad are fit enough to make an appearance. The starting line up is probably a fairly good guide to what the gaffer thinks is our best starting eleven (for away games anyhow).
Match prediction: Slow, low scoring game with a second half goal to decide it either way. I'm going for a 1-0 home win.
I'll probably be wrong again but I'm awaiting a pleasant surprise. Barnsley face Manchester United on Tuesday in the League Cup and one can only hope that this glam-tie suitably distracts them to allow a massively deflected goal for the Robins!
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