As the Seagulls arrive in South Yorkshire in one of tonight's three Championship fixtures, Tom Bestwick previews the Oakwell action...
Tuesday 12 March – Kick off 19.45
Reds v Brighton & Hove Albion
League form over the last five league fixtures: W, W, W, D, L
Tell me more…
After gaining promotion back to the npower Championship two seasons ago, Gus Poyet’s side have gone from strength to strength in their bid to get back to the top-flight of English football for the first time since 1983.
Currently placed just outside the play-offs, the Seagulls have only tasted defeat twice since the start of February, and they will visit Oakwell boasting one of the best away records in the division. They are also a side that do not know how to lose games with only seven defeats all campaign, and only one of them has come since the turn of the year.
The Tykes will be boosted by the fact that their visitors will be without top goal-scorer Craig Mackail-Smith. The 29-year-old was on target with two goals when Barnsley travelled down south back in August, and he his likely to be ruled out for the rest of this season, leaving Brighton short in their firepower department after Will Hoskins suffered a knee ligament injury in last month’s draw with Blackburn Rovers.
After a successful stint in his first managerial position, Gus Poyet has been linked with many jobs in the Premier League for the work he has done at the Amex Stadium, and their easy-on-the-eye football he has instilled into his team. Most notably the Uruguayan’s success has seen him linked to Chelsea, where he spent four successful years as a player, but he has always stated that he wants to stay where he is and lead Brighton back to the big time.
Gus Poyet has said he will be on the lookout for a loan striker after an injury to Craig Mackail-Smith in the 0-0 draw away at Bristol City. Leonardo Ulloa has been in sparkling form since he signed from Spanish side Almeria and scored a hat-trick in their recent 4-1 victory over struggling Huddersfield Town. After coming off the bench in the stalemate with Bristol City he is expected to be back in the starting line-up for the Seagulls’ visit to Oakwell.
Who’s their star man?
Brighton have an array of foreign talent within their ranks, but after a stop-start season last year, 23-year-old winger Will Buckley, who made the move to the Amex Stadium in June 2011 in a record-breaking transfer fee for the Seagulls, has stamped his mark on this campaign. The former Watford man has got five goals as well as five assists this year so far, and has become a firm favourite with the Brighton crowd.
Their season so far
As painfully as it is, Brighton’s biggest victory came back in August when Barnsley made the long journey down south to the Amex as the hosts ran out 5-1 winners on the day. Both Mackail-Smith and Ashley Barnes bagged braces and former Chelsea left-back Wayne Bridge scored his first goal in almost nine years as the Seagulls picked up their first win of the season. Barnsley did get a consolation through Craig Davies, but it was a bad day all round for the Tykes.
Brighton’s short visit to high-flying Crystal Palace in December ended in disaster. After having Lewis Dunk sent off in only the eighth minute, it left them with a mountain to climb. A Glenn Murray double and an Owen Garvan second-half penalty compounded their misery as Palace climbed back above Cardiff City to the top of the Championship.
A blast from the past…
David Flitcroft will be looking to steer the Tykes to their first victory over Brighton since 23 August 2003. Kevin Betsy’s second-half header from Tony Gallimore’s free-kick, before midfielder Chris Lumsdon had been given his marching orders a minute after the goal, was enough to give 10-man Barnsley the win against a Brighton side that were among the favourites to be promoted from the second division.
Not coming to the match?
Never fear, as Barnsley Player's got it covered. Click here to activate your two-week free trial now and you can catch up on all the pre and post-match news, watch every full match replay and listen to every game, including tonight's match!