The Reds welcome Walsall to Oakwell this Saturday as both sides look to build on their excellent starts to the Sky Bet League One season.
Daniel Stendel’s side remain undefeated in the league this season, and grabbed an impressive away win at Oldham Athletic in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night, despite making 10 changes to his team at Boundary Park.
The Reds have conceded just three goals in the league this season, and this has resulted in goalkeeper Adam Davies (Wales) and midfielder Kenny Dougall (Australia) receiving international call-ups, therefore Stendel will be forced to make some changes to his starting eleven once again.
It’s not just Barnsley who are enjoying life in Sky Bet League One, our visitors, Walsall also remain undefeated after their opening six league games of the season. They sit 5th in the table and are two places below the Reds; both sides are on 14 points.
The Saddlers also picked up a win in the Checkatrade Trophy on Tuesday night, beating fellow League One side Burton Albion 2-1, at the Pirelli Stadium.
In charge at the Banks’s Stadium is Dean Keates, the former midfielder who had two spells at the club during his playing career. Now into management, he’s looking to propel his side to the top of the League One table.
Having made just three signings over the summer, Keates has shown faith in a squad that only managed a 19th placed finish last term. However, they have more than repaid their manager so far with the start they have made.
The last meeting between these two sides was the second instalment of the 2016 League One Play Off semi final. The Reds won the game 3-1 at Walsall, triumphing 6-1 on aggregate after the sublime 1st Leg victory at Oakwell (3-0).
Paul Heckingbottom’s side then went on to secure promotion to the Sky Bet Championship in the final, completing a Wembley double having already won the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy a month earlier.
The man in the middle for this Sky Bet League One clash at Oakwell is Craig Hicks. It's his 5th season as a referee and Saturday's game will be his first ever Reds appointment.
Into his second full season on the EFL list of officials, Mr Hicks, from Surrey was busy in midweek when he took charge of Oxford United's 3-0 victory over Fulham U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy, sending off a Fulham player and booking two others.
He has booked 23 players in his six games so far this season, with that solitary red card.
As both sides have had very similar starts to the current campaign, and both remain unbeaten, perhaps something has to give? Fans can expect an entertaining contest between two of the league’s in-form teams when the game gets underway on Saturday.
Reds' Assistant Head Coach, Andreas Winkler offered fans his thoughts ahead of the match, as did goalkeeper Jack Walton who is likely to get the nod as Adam Davies' deputy this weekend with the Barnsley skipper away with Wales on international duty.
Both of the pre-match press conference videos are available over on iFollow Barnsley for our subscribers.
Tickets are still available for the clash and can be purchased online (before midnight Friday) or in-store (before 5pm Friday). A matchday increase of £2 will be applied thereafter.
If you can't make it to Oakwell on Saturday, iFollow Barnsley is the next best option, with live audio commentary and match streaming for our subscribers. Click on the image below to register today!