Reds vs Rovers
Blackburn visit Oakwell tonight as Barnsley will be looking for their second consecutive win after beating a struggling Blackpool side 2-0 last time out.
Blackburn come to Barnsley only three points away from the last play-off spot, although prior to last weekend, Gary Bowyer’s men had been conceding goals for fun. With heavy defeats to Manchester City in the FA Cup and Nottingham Forest still in the recent memory, it wasn’t a surprise that Blackburn were looking to make more of an impression against Derby on Saturday. They played well and managed to hold the fourth place side down for most of the game. After scoring early on in the first half, Blackburn lost their lead when Derby equalised with six minutes to go with a goal from Chelsea loanee Patrick Bamford.
The next few weeks signal an important period for Barnsley as games against fellow league strugglers will provide them with an opportunity to lift themselves from the foot of the Sky Bet Championship, trips to Sheffield Wednesday and Doncaster in February both catching the eye as important games for the second half of the season.
Danny Wilson is hoping for impressive things from his squad as he backs them to carry the Reds to the end of the season.
This will be the 58th time that this fixture has been played in the Football League
Barnsley wins over Blackburn- 11
Blackburn wins over Barnsley- 27
To find the last time that Barnsley were victorious against Blackburn in the league you would have to go back to the 1999/2000 season, when Barnsley comfortably dispatched Blackburn, winning 5-1.
In the slightly more recent past, the reverse fixture of this game was played back in August and it was one to be quickly forgotten for Barnsley. Despite taking the lead that day, Barnsley weren’t able to take home three points as Blackburn came back to win 5-2 with Jordan Rhodes scoring his first two of the season.
Players to watch
Whilst a winning margin that big would seem unlikely this time round, it may surprise some to know that two of the league’s top goal scorers could be featuring. Despite Barnsley’s somewhat disappointing league campaign up to yet, goals haven’t escaped front man Chris O’Grady as his nine goals put him just outside of the league’s top ten goal scorers.
On the other hand, Blackburn’s Jordan Rhodes, who has long been regarded as one of the Championships deadliest front men, is joint second in the top scorers list, only one goal behind Leeds’ Ross McCormack who has notched 17 so far.
Given the situations that both teams find themselves in, Tonight's game will definitely make for interesting viewing as a result either way could be pivotal in how both team’s seasons turn out.
Rovers captain Scott Dan has still not made it back to fitness after an arm injury and both Cory Evans and Dickson Etuhu look set to miss through ankle injuries.
Blackburn look to be still without Paul Robinson as his return from a hamstring injury is still some way off. Despite the amount of goals conceded by Blackburn in recent games, second choice keeper Simon Eastwood will be most likely to start between the posts for the visitors.
Rovers also look set to be without midfielder Ben Marshall for some time after he sustained a serious injury last weekend against Derby. He was stretchered off the pitch with what is thought to be ankle ligament damage.
One positive for Blackburn is that Norwegian international Josh King is back in the squad after missing last weekend’s game with a knock.
Blackburn’s David Goodwillie who has been out through injury for some time has been loaned out to Blackpool for the rest of the season where he will link up with fellow Scotsman Barry Ferguson.
Barnsley’s new loan signing Nick Proschwitz could make his debut against Blackburn. Since arriving at Hull more than 18 months ago the 27 year old striker has struggled to make much of an impact. Barnsley boss Danny Wilson is hoping it will be a different story here at Barnsley: “"I think he'll feed well off Chris O'Grady or he can play up top on his own. He can get in the box and he's a finisher.”
Rovers’ veteran David Dunn played for the reserves last week and is on the way to making his first team return after some time out through injury.
Home debuts for Liam Lawrence and Brek Shea all went well last week against Blackpool and the duo will be looking to feature again this time round.
Ryan McLaughlin however is doubtful with a hamstring injury as is Jim O’Brien with a groin injury.
Marcus Pedersen and Bobby Hassle are still both out of contention.
On Saturday the Reds played a friendly against Dundalk, many of Barnsley’s first team regulars played well and fought back to earn a victory after going behind relatively early on. Brek Shea was amongst the scorers, netting for the first time in a Barnsley shirt as well as Danny Rose who has just agreed a two year contract extension with the club.
Danny Wilson said: “Getting the lads together was a crucial part of it. We emphasised that these are the boys who are going to take us through to the end of the season.”
W- (H) Blackpool 2-0
D- (A) Birmingham 1-1
L- (H) Derby 2-1
L- (H) Bolton 1-0
D- (A) Leeds 0-0
After only picking up five points through the whole of December, Barnsley’s Christmas period wasn’t overly successful.
Having already picked up four points so far in January, this month is looking more promising for the Reds who are eagerly awaiting opportunities to steal some points and catch up with the league’s fellow strugglers.
D- (H) 1-1 Derby
L- (A) 4-1 Forest
W- (H) 1-0 Doncaster
W- (A) 2-1 Leeds
L- (H) 3-2 Birmingham
Blackburn’s December was neither here nor there in terms of picking up points and propelling themselves towards the top six.
Several high scoring games during the month highlighted the openness of some of the fixtures and although there were promising times, the majority of the results were disappointing. Managing to salvage a point away at QPR was probably the best achievement of that period.
Going into this month, Blackburn had the prospect of Manchester City in the cup and this may have been something that affected their league concentration, especially after drawing the first game and earning a replay at the Etihad.
Since being well beaten in the replay against the Premier League giants, Blackburn had a minor blip against Nottingham Forest before coming back last weekend and looking like determined play-off contenders.
Betting - Free £30 bet with Sky Bet!
A win for the Reds is priced at 11/5 with Blackburn set to be the favourites with a price of 5/4. For the fixture to end as a draw the odds are 23/10.
Both sides have dangerous front men who will surely play a part in the outcome one way or another.
Barnsley’s Chris O’Grady is 11/8 to score in the 90 minutes whilst Rovers’ talisman Jordan Rhodes is priced at 4/5 to score in the game.
Don't forget that your bet with Sky bet backs the Reds, whatever result you choose! Click here to open your account.
Coming to the match?
Concession tickets are available from the Oakwell Box Office up to an hour before kick-off. Adults (£23), OAPs (£16) and Under 18s (£16) can pay cash on the turnstiles.
Can't make it to Oakwell?
You can still feel part of the action by following every kick either on THE WALL
with our instagram pictures and YouTube vidoes, or listen to every kick with Matt and Adam on Barnsley Player.
Referee: Sebastian Stockbridge
Assistant Referees: Paul Cook and Mark Jones
Fourth Official: Nigel Smith