Barnsley U23s host Nottingham Forest on Friday afternoon knowing that three points will see them leapfrog Sheffield United into sixth place.
The young Reds have lost just once in their last eight Professional Development League outings – keeping four clean sheets in that run.
Forest are perhaps one of the more inconsistent teams in the league this campaign and are yet to win back-to-back games. After losing against Crystal Palace on the opening day, Jimmy Gilligan’s side then went six games unbeaten before losing four consecutive fixtures.
Four losses in a row followed for last season’s eventual runners-up, who went onto win four of the next eight matches.
Barnsley will also be looking to avenge the 3-0 defeat suffered at the hands of Friday’s visitors earlier this campaign, and will be buoyed by the knowledge that Forest will be without their tormentor in chief from that game.
Virgil Gomis, who leads their scoring charts with 12 goals in all competitions, is gaining valuable first team experience in Sky Bet League Two with Notts County. The young French forward scored Forest’s third back in September and also impressed in a loan spell with Braintree Town in the Vanarama National League.
However, Gilligan’s young squad is not without talent, and Yassine El-Neyah and Brennan Johnson, who have netted 14 goals between them, will have to be marshalled carefully by the Reds’ backline.
Martin Devaney will be encouraged by performances in recent weeks from his side, who have hit a purple patch and are showing magnificent resolve within games to grind out results.
And, while the goals aren’t perhaps as free-flowing as they could be, Barnsley are continuing to carve out gilt-edged opportunities and it seems like only a matter of time before an emphatic victory is recorded.
You can find out how the young Reds fare on Friday afternoon by either attending the game at the Oakwell Training Complex for FREE, kick-off at 2pm, or following updates on our official Academy Twitter account: @AcademyBFC.