Reds v Bradford City
Sunday 12th October - 3pm
Danny Wilson’s side welcome Yorkshire rivals Bradford City to Oakwell on Sunday afternoon with the visitors looking to protect their unbeaten away league record in front of the TV cameras.
Success on the road has been the catalyst for the Bantams’ fine start to the season, with wins at Crawley, Rochdale and the MK Dons propelling Phil Parkinson’s outfit towards the League One play-off spots.
A four match unbeaten run in recent weeks has erased any memories of the back-to-back home defeats suffered at Valley Parade last month, with last weekend’s 2-0 triumph against Crewe their fifth victory of the campaign.
The Reds, meanwhile, will be looking to secure back-to-back league wins for the first time this season following Saturday’s narrow success across the Pennines at Rochdale.
If they are to do that, the Tykes will need to improve on their home form, having won just once at Oakwell in the league this term, with Crawley, the MK Dons and Swindon all leaving South Yorkshire with three points.
Johnstone’s Paint Trophy elimination on Tuesday night means the Reds have now only won one of their last six games in all competitions but following much improved performances this week Wilson’s side will be eager to pick up their fourth win of the campaign on Sunday.
Despite meeting 101 times, Barnsley and Bradford have not crossed paths since the 2005-06 season when they met a rare four times.
Both league clashes ended in goalless draws with the most recent coming in April 2006, but it was an entirely different story in the FA Cup as the Reds travelled to West Yorkshire for a replay following a 1-1 draw at Oakwell.
In complete contrast to those earlier league games, the tie went goal crazy with two extra time strikes from Barnsley midfielder Martin Devaney securing a 5-3 win for Andy Ritchie’s men.
That victory was the Tykes’ 35th success against the Bantams but their last home triumph against their Yorkshire rivals came back in April 1997, having failed to win in the last five meetings between the two sides at Oakwell.
The Reds will hopefully have winger Keith Treacy back at Oakwell this weekend as the Irishman returned home to marry his long-term girlfriend on Friday.
A deal between Treacy and Barnsley boss Wilson was struck in August when the former Republic of Ireland international signed for the Tykes from Burnley, but Treacy could feature this Sunday.
Ryan Williams should recover in time to fill the void left in midfield, after the Australian’s calves tightened up just 36 minutes into his Barnsley debut against Oldham on Tuesday night.
Devante Cole replaced the winger at SportsDirect.com Park and the on-loan Manchester City forward will be pushing for a recall to the starting XI on Sunday afternoon, as will defender Peter Ramage who nodded the winner in last weekend’s win at Rochdale.
Bradford boss Parkinson opted against recalling top goal scorer James Hanson last weekend, with the striker close to a return after missing the last five games with a thigh injury.
The former Guiseley forward will be eager to return this weekend however, as will on loan Derby frontman Mason Bennett, who made an appearance for the Rams’ U21 side on Monday but has since returned to Valley Parade.
The Reds will not come up against any former players on the field this weekend but in the dugout they will welcome some familiar faces with two former Barnsley men amongst the Bradford backroom staff.
Assistant manager Steve Parkin managed the Tykes from November 2001 until October 2002, while Bradford goalkeeping coach Lee Butler made over 100 appearances for the Reds between 1991 and 1996 after joining from Aston Villa.
Man in the Middle
Yorkshire referee Andrew Madley will be involved with both Barnsley and Bradford for the first time on Sunday afternoon, having never officiated a game for either side in the past. Madley has taken charge of 10 games this season however, dishing out 27 yellow cards and one red which was handed to Swindon’s Nathan Thompson in his side’s League Cup defeat against Brighton. Seven of the 27 yellow cards produced by the Yorkshire official this term came in September’s fiery London derby between Charlton and Watford at the Valley.
Their Star Man
Bradford-born striker James Hanson has once again led the line for the Bantams this season, scoring five times including the winner in his side’s League Cup victory against Leeds United. The former supermarket worker was released by both Bradford and Huddersfield as a youngster but in July 2009 was re-signed by his boyhood heroes. Since then the ex-Guiseley forward has been a regular in the Bantams attack, firing them to both promotion and the League Cup final in 2013, as well as netting 12 times in his first League One campaign last year. That form saw Hanson rewarded with a new three-and-a-half year deal last November, having scored 68 goals in over 200 appearances for the Club.
Andy Gray moved north to join Barnsley in August 2009, joining for an undisclosed fee from relegated Championship side Charlton. The Harrogate born striker hit six goals in his first campaign at Oakwell – including a late winner to earn a 2-1 win at Blackpool. The 36-year-old was released by the Reds at the end of the 2011-12 season after scoring 21 goals in 96 games for the Tykes.
Gray is also no stranger to Bradford City fans following two spells with the Club, the first of which came back in 2002 when the Leeds United academy product arrived from Nottingham Forest. A more youthful Gray enjoyed two successful seasons at Valley Parade, notching 20 times in 77 appearances as well as winning two caps for the Scottish national team in the process.
After leaving the Bantams for Sheffield United in February 2004, Gray made an emotional return to Bradford in January last year via stops at Sunderland, Burnley, Charlton, Barnsley and Leeds. Unfortunately for the popular forward his second spell at Valley Parade was not as fruitful, scoring just once before his contract was ended in May this year.
The Yorkshireman was part of the Barnsley team which thrashed Leeds United 5-2 at Oakwell in September 2010. Despite not scoring, the target man played a vital role as the Reds picked up one of their most famous victories.
After finding the back of the net for the first time in a Barnsley shirt in a 3-1 home defeat against Reading in August 2009, Gray went on to score some important goals for the Club including a brace in a 2-1 win at Leicester in his final season with the Club, as well as the winner in the Tykes’ narrow home triumph over Hull in the same campaign.
Can't make it to Oakwell?
Barnsley Player will provide full match commentary from Oakwell once again, so you can listen from wherever you are in the world!