A clutch of long-distance away journeys kick off this weekend for Barnsley, as the Reds head to face Bristol City in the Sky Bet Championship - here's the preview!
With the positivity continuing to grow after last weekend's crucial victory over Huddersfield Town, the Reds are back on the road on Saturday 18 January as Gerhard Struber's in-form side head to Bristol City in league action.
The 2-1 win against the Terriers at Oakwell last time out earned Barnsley a big three points against not only a local rival, but one of the handful of clubs who remain mired in the battle to retain their Sky Bet Championship status.
Goals in either half from captain, Alex Mowatt and free-scoring striker Conor Chaplin were enough against Town. It wasn't the Reds' best performance of the season but they fought hard until the last minute of plenty added on in what became a rather feisty affair.
With just one defeat in their last seven league fixtures (2-1 at Derby County) morale is high in the Barnsley camp right now. Indeed, the impact that Struber has made since his mid-November arrival has been massive, particularly when taking into account the loss of Cauley Woodrow recently, injured and unavailable so far in 2020.
Last weekend saw the debut of Marcel Ritzmaier. The 26-year-old midfielder, signed from Struber's former club Wolfsberger AC put in an assured display despite just three days of training with his new colleagues and both he and fellow new-boy, Kilian Ludewig will be in contention for Saturday's trip to the South West.
Woodrow's recovery is going well but he's not yet back in full training so won't be involved at Ashton Gate. One or two players have been ill during the lead up to the Robins clash, but Struber has plenty of options at his disposal heading into this Robins clash.
Winger Jordan Green departed Oakwell this week, joining Sky Bet League Two outfit Newport County on loan until the end of the season and more players on the fringes of the first team are expected to head for the exit before January is over, as the Head Coach looks to trim down his squad.
The Reds' boss was alongside Luke Thomas in midweek on press duty, and subscribers to iFollow Barnsley can watch both of their pre-match press conference videos below.
Fresh from exiting the Emirates FA Cup at the Third Round stage, losing on Tuesday night against Shrewsbury Town after a replay, our hosts, Bristol City this weekend will be hoping to build on their 2-0 win against Wigan Athletic last time out in the Sky Bet Championship.
It's been an up and down story for the Robins in recent weeks, with victories gained over sides in the bottom half of the table but defeats against clubs in the upper echelons.
Currently 9th in the divisional standings, Bristol City have lost three of their last five and that shock defeat in midweek at the hands of Sky Bet League One strugglers Shrewsbury has only increased tensions at Ashton Gate.
They remain just a point outside the playoff places, however. And as Head Coach and former Reds gaffer Lee Johnson pointed out, their season is far from over.
“We have to focus very quickly on the league now and being one point from the playoffs, we need to give it a right go in these last 19 games.”
Despite spending just short of 12 months in charge at Oakwell some five years ago now, Johnson's tenure was one that Reds fans still talk about today. Taking the club initially towards the playoffs before running out of steam, to the next season embarking upon one of the club's worst ever run of defeats before an equally incredible run of victories that catapulted Barnsley towards an eventual promotion after his departure to Ashton Gate.
The Newmarket-born coach, who followed in his father Gary's footsteps when taking the reins at Bristol City, has improved the Robins' position each season despite plenty of comings and goings in the transfer market.
A club that has seen plenty of growth over the last decade with the now massively redeveloped Ashton Gate stadium one of the most impressive in the division, City will have been hoping for a promotion push this season.
Whilst form of late has, as been mentioned already, been somewhat patchy, the Robins are within touching distance of the chasing pack and with some more cute business during the transfer window, Johnson will be hoping to make that next step in the process.
It's not only Lee who is a familiar face at Bristol City. The Robins have four players in their first team squad who've spent time at Oakwell in the past.
Full back Jack Hunt spent a few months with the Reds on loan back in 2014 but couldn't help the club retain their Championship status in a difficult loan spell for the former Huddersfield man.
Both Korey Smith (2011/12) and Josh Brownhill (2015/16) enjoyed half-season spells on loan in the Reds midfield. The latter was a stand-out performer in his time at Oakwell, key in the club's promotion back to the second tier and the Football League Trophy triumph the same year.
And finally, another key component of that 2015/16 season promotion-winning squad - Marley Watkins. The Welsh international enjoyed two fruitful seasons with the Reds but in the reverse fixture at Oakwell a few months ago, he came in for a bit of stick for some of his theatrics in that 2-2 draw.
The Reds met the Robins in that fixture in November and fought back from two goals down to claim a point thanks to Cauley Woodrow's 94th minute leveller.
That gave us a 2-2 scoreline which has been the case in five of the last seven fixtures between the two clubs in what has always been one of the most high-scoring matchups in Football League history.
Back in 1958 the Reds were beaten 7-4 at Oakwell by the Robins and just three years later, Barnsley handed Bristol City a 7-3 beating at the same venue. As recently as 2013 the two sides shared eight goals as the Robins won 5-3 at Ashton Gate.
However, it's some 27 years now since our last victory at the home of Bristol City. That was a 2-0 win in October of 1993 with Ian Bryson and Neil Redfearn on target for Viv Anderson's side.