The Reds return to Oakwell this weekend buoyed by a first win in six games following their FA Cup success against Chester on Tuesday night.
A double from Dale Jennings and a third goal of the season for Kane Hemmings earned a much needed victory for Danny Wilson’s side, with the Reds losing three of their last four outings in League One.
The Club’s form at Oakwell has fared slightly better however and after two away games this week, the Reds return to familiar surroundings having lost just once in their last six home games in all competitions.
Dale Jennings - back in the side and back in form
Defeat to Walsall last weekend does leave Barnsley only three points above the relegation zone and with Saturday’s opponents Leyton Orient sitting in 22nd place and four points behind the Reds both sides will be desperate for a win in South Yorkshire.
The O’s have endured a tumultuous campaign, with the Club operating under their third manager of the season after the resignation of long-serving boss Russell Slade and the brief tenure of Mauro Milanese who was replaced by former Italy international Fabio Liverani earlier this month.
Liverani’s Orient bow ended in defeat as the O’s suffered a 2-1 home loss against Peterborough last Saturday, which continued the Club’s miserable run of form of late; losing four of their last five games in both league and cup.
The defeat against Peterborough made it three defeats on the bounce for Saturday’s visitors and with just one win in their last seven league games Orient will be hoping for an improvement under their new management.
One area in which Liverani will have to make urgent changes is the Club’s away form, having lost their last five in a row away from Brisbane Road; despite going 11 matches unbeaten on the road at the start of the campaign.
Barnsley and Leyton Orient will meet for the first time in nearly 33 years on Saturday afternoon.
The last time the Club’s crossed paths came in January 1982 when the Reds completed a league double over the O’s after securing a 3-1 success in London.
Earlier in that 1981-82 campaign Barnsley edged a narrow contest 1-0 at Oakwell in the old second division as the sides did battle for the first time in 11 years.
The previous encounter between the Clubs came in the 1969-70 season and on that occasion it was Orient who completed the double with a 4-2 home win and a 2-1 triumph at Oakwell.
With both the Reds and the O’s securing 22 victories apiece in this fixture they will be eager to edge ahead this weekend but it is Barnsley who have enjoyed greater success at Oakwell in the past; winning 19 of the 26 meetings between the two sides in South Yorkshire.
Dale Jennings will look to continue where he left off on Tuesday night after scoring his first Barnsley goals in nearly four months.
The wingers brace set the Reds on their way to FA Cup success and with striker Sam Winnall still out with a hamstring problem the form of Jennings could be key to the Barnsley attack.
One man who is still absent from that forward line is on loan wideman Ryan Williams who has a groin injury and he has been joined on the injury list in recent weeks by defenders Lewin Nyatanga, Jean-Yves Mvoto, Joe Dudgeon and James Bree.
In the absence of full-back Dudgeon, Academy graduate Mason Holgate has proved to be a more than capable replacement and the youngster will be keen to impress once again if given the nod.
Former Red Dagnall - suspended for Orient this weekend.
Former Barnsley striker Chris Dagnall will not return to Oakwell this weekend, with the ex-Tyke serving the final match of a three game suspension following his dismissal against Bradford in late November.
Dagnall – who spent two years with the Reds and scored 11 times - joined Orient in January from Barnsley and has since notched 12 times for the Club, five of which have come this season.
Man in the Middle
East Yorkshire based referee Mark Brown will take charge of his third Barnsley game on Saturday afternoon. Brown’s most recent encounter with the Reds came in February when the Tykes picked up a 1-0 win at Millwall courtesy of Jim O’Brien’s fourth minute strike.
The official’s only other previous meeting with the Reds did not end as successfully however, as League Two side Morecambe ran out 2-0 winners at Oakwell in the League Cup.
The clash at Oakwell this weekend will be Brown’s 19th of the campaign, having taken charge of games across the Football League including Huddersfield’s 5-0 defeat at Norwich last weekend which saw Town’s Murray Wallace shown a straight red card after just 17 minutes.
That red card was one of just four shown by Brown this season, with the Yorkshireman dismissing Newport’s Andy Sandell in his side’s 2-2 draw at Hartlepool, as well as sending off both Michael Higdon and Tommy Lee in the same game as Chesterfield beat Sheffield United 3-2 back in October.
Their Star Man
Attacking midfielder Dean Cox was one of the most sought after players during the summer transfer market as a result of a stunning season in Orient colours. The former Brighton playmaker attracted interest from a host of Championship Clubs after scoring 17 times last season including one in the play-off final at Wembley as the O’s lost on penalties to Rotherham.
The 27-year-old has been a regular fixture on the scoresheet in his four campaigns with the Club, scoring 12 times in his maiden Orient season, nine in his second and eight in his third before last season’s remarkable tally.
Although the ex-Eastbourne Borough loanee has only found the back of the net twice so far this time out; the most recent of which came in the O's 4-1 win against Crewe, the winger has eight assists and his flare and creativity will be vital over the coming weeks as new boss Liverani attempts to put his own stamp on the Club.
Energetic midfielder Stephen Dawson departed Oakwell in the summer, joining League One rivals Rochdale on a free transfer after two-and-a-half years with the Club. During that spell the Irishman made 86 appearances for the Reds, scoring six times following his move from Saturday’s opponents Leyton Orient for an undisclosed fee in January 2012.
Although he suffered a number of injuries, the recently turned 29-year-old quickly established himself as a regular at Oakwell after making his debut in a slender 1-0 loss against Coventry. The former Mansfield and Bury man had to wait for his first full season with the Club to score his first goal in Barnsley colours; bagging a 73rd minute equaliser against Ipswich.
Dawson made 34 appearances in that 2012-13 campaign, scoring four times with further strikes against Leicester, Millwall and Blackburn Rovers, before featuring 40 times last season as the Reds suffered relegation to the third tier.
The ex-Republic of Ireland youth international added a further two goals to his Barnsley tally however, notching a consolation as the Reds suffered an humiliating 5-1 home defeat against Southampton in the League Cup, as well as the opener in the Club’s 3-1 win at Reading.
That strike proved to be the midfielders last in a Barnsley shirt as he rejected a new deal to stay at Oakwell and moved onto pastures new across the Pennines at Rochdale.
The former Red began his career at Leicester City and despite progressing through the ranks at the King Power Stadium, Dawson failed to make a senior appearance for the Club and went onto enjoy spells with Mansfield and Bury before landing at Brisbane Road and Leyton Orient in 2010.
Just like at Oakwell, the tough tacking midfielder swiftly became a permanent figure in the O’s midfield, making 51 appearances in the 2010-11 season and scoring twice in victories over Tranmere and Swindon. His second campaign with the O’s saw Dawson double his tally for the Club, as he hit a 90th minute winner against Bristol Rovers as well as the opener as Orient defeated Notts County 2-1.
Despite featuring heavily for Russell Slade’s side, those goals would be Dawson’s last at Brisbane Road and on transfer deadline day in January 2012 the midfielder signed on the dotted line at Oakwell.