The Reds face a tricky trip to Rochdale on Saturday with the newly promoted League One side searching for their fourth straight win.
Managed by former Tykes’ boss Keith Hill, Dale currently occupy a play-off place after picking up four wins in their last five outings, including home victories against Walsall and Coventry.
Barnsley, meanwhile, are without a win in their last five league games but will be hoping for a repeat performance from the last meeting between the two sides which came back in 2012.
On that occasion an extra-time brace from substitute Chris Dagnall secured a dramatic 4-3 win for the Reds after an eventful League Cup tie which included a red card for Tykes’ ‘keeper Ben Alnwick and a first Spotland return for manager Hill following his switch to Oakwell in June 2011.
The two Clubs have not met in league competition since 1979, when Dale ran out comfortable 3-0 winners in South Yorkshire.
The Reds travel to Spotland with a full complement of players available to boss Danny Wilson including new signing Ryan Williams.
The young Australian winger, who netted eight times in 42 appearances for Oxford United last season, agreed a short-term loan deal from Fulham on Thursday and goes straight into the squad for Saturday afternoon’s game.
Ryan Williams set for his debut at Rochdale (photo courtesy of BackPage images)
One player he will not be joining is defender George Smith, but the youngster has resumed training this week after suffering a fractured toe in early August.
The Reds will come up against a number of familiar faces tomorrow afternoon, with Tom Kennedy, Stephen Dawson and Matt Done all plying their trade with Dale following spells at Barnsley.
Both Kennedy and Dawson departed Oakwell for Spotland in August after spending two years with the Club, while Done featured 44 times in a Barnsley shirt before returning to Rochdale in July 2013 to team up with ex-boss Hill, who managed the Tykes for an 18-month period which ended in December 2012 after a disappointing start to the campaign.
Dale's Joe Rafferty returns from suspension after sitting out last week's win at Leyton Orient but Ashley Eastham will miss out following a straight red picked up in that away victory.
Man in the Middle
Kevin Wright was in charge on the final day of last season as the Tykes suffered a narrow 3-2 home defeat against eventual play-off winners QPR. The Merseyside official – who has handed out 26 yellow cards and one red in eight games this season - has overseen six Barnsley games in total.
Their Star Man
Matt Done in action for the Reds against Crystal Palace
Former Barnsley man Matt Done has been a revelation for Rochdale this season, scoring seven times including a hat-trick in Dale’s 5-2 win at Crewe. The 26-year-old joined the Reds from Rochdale before returning to his former club two years later and was a regular in the Dale side which won promotion from League Two last season. The winger, who began his career with Wrexham, has proved that he is more than capable of replacing last season’s top goalscorer and former Oakwell trialist Scott Hogan who departed Spotland in July to join Brentford.
Chris Dagnall arrived at Oakwell in January 2012 for an undisclosed fee from Scunthorpe, penning a two-and-a-half year contract. The pacey forward went on to make 61 appearances for the Reds, scoring 11 goals in the process over a two-year period which also saw the 28-year-old enjoy stints on loan at Bradford and Coventry.
Dagnall’s time in Barnsley came to an end in January when he was released by the Tykes, but the former Tranmere man did not have to wait long to find a new club after he was swiftly snapped up by Leyton Orient, where he remains a first-team regular.
Chris Dagnall in action for the Reds
On his arrival in South Yorkshire Dagnall teamed up with Hill, who had managed the forward at Rochdale, for whom he scored 60 times in just under 200 appearances, becoming a firm fans’ favourite.
It was against his former side that the Liverpudlian netted his first Barnsley goals, in an entertaining League Cup tie in 2012, but it was in the league where Dagnall endeared himself to the Tykes’ supporters, with a second-half double to defeat local rivals Leeds United at Oakwell in January 2013.
Going to the match?
Rochdale play at Spotland, its full address is as follows:
How to get there
From the East or West via the M62 (Use OL11 5DR for Sat Navs):
Spotland Stadium is just over two miles from junction 20 of the M62. Follow signs for Rochdale along the A627(M). At the first set of traffic lights keep left, sign posted Bury and Rochdale Town Centre. B&Q will be on your right hand side, follow this road until the next set of traffic lights. Here you need to be in the second lane of four lanes, to head straight across (sign posted Blackburn). Follow this road (Roch Valley Way) until the next set of traffic lights, remaining in the left hand lane. At the traffic lights go straight ahead on to Sandy Lane (the Cemetery pub should be on your right hand side). Continue along this road and the Stadium is on your right hand side after approximately half a mile.
Rochdale train station, which is served by trains from Manchester Victoria and Leeds, is about two miles and 35 minute walk from Spotland. Taxis are available outside the station at a cost of around £6/£7.
Spotland has a small car park which can accommodate guests and staff only. Street parking is available around the stadium, however please be aware that parking restrictions are in place in the yellow coned areas – these are monitored by traffic control.
Parking is also available at a local high school, which is around half a mile from the ground: Oulderhill Community School, Greave Avenue, Rochdale, Lancashire, OL11 5EF.
Please note that Rochdale AFC does not take any responsibility for vehicles left on the street, or at Oulderhill School.
Reds supporters can pay on the day via cash at the turnstiles.
Seniors (Over 65+): £14
Young Person (21 and under): £14
Junior (16 and under): £5
Child (7 and under): £5