The Reds will go in search of their third win on the bounce when they travel to Deepdale to face Preston on Boxing Day.
Victories against Chester and Leyton Orient in the past seven days has renewed confidence around Oakwell, with Saturday’s triumph the Club’s first league win in five games.
Danny Wilson’s side had lost three of their four previous League One outings and despite bringing that dismal run of form to an end, the Reds will be disappointed to play away from Oakwell; having picked up eight points from the last 15 available in home surroundings.
On the road the Reds have struggled of late, losing at both Chesterfield and Walsall, but with just four victories in 12 away matches Wilson’s side will be desperate to improve on that in the second half of the campaign.
Preston meanwhile, are one of the division’s in-form sides; unbeaten in seven games in all competitions, six of which have been victories.
Three wins in their last four League One outings leaves the Lilywhites in fourth place, a position which has also been reached following the Club’s seven-match winning streak earlier in the season.
A brief dip in that form failed to worry the Deepdale Club however and after away wins at Bristol City, Yeovil and Peterborough, Simon Grayson’s squad remain strongly amongst the promotion favourites.
Despite that, the Reds can take some confidence into the Boxing Day clash, with North End failing to win in their last two home encounters after defeat against Bradford in mid-November and a 1-1 draw against the MK Dons in their last home game.
The Reds will meet Preston for the first time in four seasons on Friday following North End’s relegation from the Championship at the end of the 2010-11 campaign.
In that season Barnsley completed the double over their Lancashire counterparts, with the most recent of those meetings ending in a 2-0 success for the Reds at Oakwell courtesy of goals from Gary O’Connor and Danny Haynes.
In the reverse fixture at Deepdale, O’Connor was on the scoresheet again, with the Reds fighting back from a goal down after winger Adam Hammill equalised just before half time.
Those triumphs made it 21 wins for Barnsley in the 50 clashes between the two Clubs, which leaves them just three behind North End who have claimed 24 victories in this fixture.
At Deepdale however, it is the Reds who have fared better in recent meetings, winning on three of their last four visits there including a 4-1 thrashing back in February 2010.
Goalkeeper Ross Turnbull will serve a one match suspension after seeing red on Saturday in the Reds’ 2-0 win against Leyton Orient.
The former Chelsea man was dismissed for handling outside the box and will be replaced by Adam Davies at Deepdale, in what will be the ‘keepers 10th start for the Club.
In front of Davies, boss Wilson has been without defenders Joe Dudgeon and James Bree of late while Sam Winnall continues to be a long-term absentee after missing the Club’s last five games with a hamstring injury.
In place of forward Winnall youngster Kane Hemmings has deputised and with three goals to his name, the frontman will continue to battle with both Leroy Lita and Marcello Trotta for a starting berth.
For North End top goal scorer Joe Garner remains on the sidelines with a knee injury, but on a more positive note Simon Grayson will be hopeful of recalling full-back David Buchanan who has suffered with a hamstring problem of late.
Three former Barnsley players will be involved against the Reds on Friday, with defender Scott Wiseman – who made over 100 appearances in a Barnsley shirt between 2011 and 2014 – as well as former Reds loanee Kyel Reid both part of the Lilywhites squad.
One other familiar name to Barnsley supporters will be Preston assistant manager Glynn Snodin, who spent two seasons at Oakwell from 1993 until 1995.
Man in the Middle
Lancashire-based referee Paul Tierney will take charge of his 21st game of the season when the Reds travel to Preston on Boxing Day. Officiating mainly in the Championship, Tierney has handed out 63 yellow cards and six reds including one to Derby’s Jake Buxton in their East Midlands derby draw against
Nottingham Forest in September and more recently to Fulham ‘keeper Marcus Bettinelli just 18 minutes into the Cottagers 5-0 home defeat against London rivals Watford.
The clash at Deepdale will be the official’s seventh game in charge of the Reds, three of which have ended in Barnsley victories, two in defeat and one draw. The most recent of those outings came in August 2013 when the Reds beat Scunthorpe on penalties after their League Cup meeting ended goalless. In the 2012-13 campaign Tierney oversaw Barnsley’s 1-0 FA Cup success against Burnley, as well as their 1-1 draw against Derby in which Chris O’Grady opened the scoring for the Reds.
Tierney is also no stranger to the North End faithful; having taken charge of five Preston games in the past, three of which have ended in defeat. The man in the middle at Deepdale on Friday afternoon will also be well remembered by the Lilywhites after sending off both Paul Parry and Shane Cansdell-Sheriff against Tranmere and Oldham respectively.
Their Star Man
Glasgow-born midfielder Paul Gallagher made his second loan switch in as many seasons to Preston in July from Premier League side Leicester City. The attacker hit double figures at Deepdale last season as North End reached the play-off semi-finals including two hat-tricks. The first of those came in a 6-0 FA Cup drubbing of Barnet, before the one-time Scotland international hit a treble inside 23 minutes in the Club’s 5-2 victory against Shrewsbury.
After making the move north once again this summer the former Blackburn man has bagged four times, including three on the bounce in wins over Colchester and Port Vale twice, one of which came in the Football League Trophy in a 3-2 success.
The most recent of Gallagher’s strikes came in late November as the Lilywhites beat Yeovil 2-0. Although the ex-Stoke City loanee is yet to reach his goal scoring levels of last time out, Gallagher does have six assists to his name and as one of the key players in the Preston squad, boss Simon Grayson will be desperate to sign him on a permanent basis sooner rather than later.
Wales international Craig Davies arrived at Oakwell in July 2011 with the Reds becoming the forwards 11th Club at the age of just 25. The move came as a result of a stunning 2010-11 season for Davies in which he notched 25 times in League Two for Chesterfield.
Despite that, it took the former Manchester City youth player nine games to score his first Barnsley goal; bagging in a 2-1 home defeat against Bristol City. After breaking his duck the striker never looked back, finding the back of the net nine times in 11 appearances. That form saw the 28-year-old end his first campaign in South Yorkshire with 11 goals to his name including the winner at Elland Road as the Reds beat Leeds 2-1.
Davies made a similarly good start to the 2012-13 season, finding the back of the net nine times in 23 appearances; four of which came in the same game. The ex-Oldham frontman struck his quadruple in the space of 19 minutes as the Reds thrashed Birmingham 5-0 at St Andrews. That special performance saw the Burton-born forward attract interest from elsewhere and after scoring his last goal for the Club in a 1-1 draw at Bolton, eight games later and Davies was a Bolton player.
Following just half a season at the newly-named Macron Stadium and with only four goals on his Wanderers tally, Davies joined Friday afternoon’s opponents Preston on loan in February.
The one-time Hellas Verona striker made an instant impact scoring on his debut in a 2-0 success against Notts County, before notching another four as North End reached the League One play-off semi-finals.
Three of those goals came as the Bolton forward hit a hat-trick in the Deepdale Club’s 6-1 rout of Carlisle in April. Despite that, Davies returned to his parent Club this summer and under new boss Neil Lennon, the attacker has scored three times; taking his season’s record to five.
Going to the match?
Preston North End play at Deepdale, its full address is as follows:
Sir Tom Finney Way
How to get there
From North, South and East: Exit M6 at junction 31. At the roundabout take the first exit (s/p Preston A59) onto the A59. At mini-roundabout after 1.0 miles, by the Hesketh Arms, take the second exit (s/p Ring road, Blackpool A583, Football Ground) onto the Blackpool Road A5085. Carry straight on for 1.2 miles, then filter left before the lights (s/p Town Centre, Football Ground) into Sir Tom Finney Way. The ground is on the left-hand-side.
It is about 1.6 miles from the station to Deepdale. If you catch a taxi from outside the station it will cost approximately £5.
You should come out of the station and turn left in front of the Fishergate Centre, passing The Railway pub. Turn right at the T-junction. The road forks left and becomes Corporation Street, which you should ignore. Instead walk straight down Fishergate - the main shopping thoroughfare. After 0.75 miles the road becomes Church Street - with the Parish church on your right-hand-side. Carry on until you reach the junction with the A6. Cross over the road, the prison will be on your right-hand-side and a demolition site (formerly the County Arms public house) on the left. Turn left so the demolition site is now on your right - this is Deepdale Road. The Ground is on the right-hand-side after 0.75 miles.
All buses from the train station go to the bus station. From there, numbers 5, 6 and 19 run along Deepdale Road. The number 19 is the most frequent, running every five minutes or so. It will cost approximately £0.80 to get to the ground from the bus station but have plenty of change because the bus drivers ask for the exact money. The Soccerbus and Footyrider services, mentioned below, provide direct services to Deepdale on matchdays.
There is currently no official club parking for away supporters, however, Moor Park High School offers parking for £5 per game. For home fans you can purchase season parking tickets at the beginning of the year, but they sell out almost immediately. Away fans are welcomed and groups can be accommodated on request. Those fans who can't get places on the car parks are advised to use public transport, with the club joining forces with two local companies to provide dedicated bus services to Deepdale - Traveline's 'Soccerbus' and Stagecoach's 'Footyrider'. An excellent bus network also provides connections in all areas of the city.
Tickets are priced as follows:
Senior (Over 65s): £15
Full time student (+NUS or UCAS): £15
Young adult (under 19): £15
Juvenile (Under 17): £8
Juvenile (Under 8): FREE (Advance Purchase Only)
Tickets will go off sale from the Oakwell Box Office at 12 noon on Christmas Eve.
The official club coaches depart Oakwell at 11:45am on matchday and is priced at £17 per seat.