Barnsley will be fighting for pride when they travel to Valley Parade for this weekend’s derby clash with Bradford City.
The Bantams sit one place above the Reds in 10thplace but with the sides locked on 59 points, final league positions are all to play for on Saturday afternoon.
If Lee Johnson’s men are to finish above their West Yorkshire counterparts, they will have to earn their first win in nine games following two defeats and six draws; including their last three against Chesterfield, Notts County and Peterborough.
Another stalemate this weekend would be the first time the Club has drawn four on the bounce since the 2011-12 campaign but without a victory in their last four away outings, the Reds will be eager to earn their first success on the road in over a month.
Hosts Bradford have also struggled for wins of late; losing three and drawing two of their last five games; with Saturday’s 1-1 derby draw at Sheffield United ending a sequence of three straight defeats.
That disappointing form – which has seen the Bantams win just two of their last 13 matches – has seen Phil Parkinson’s side drop out of play-off contention but with heavy defeats at home to Preston and Bristol City in their last two Valley Parade outings, an eighth success in front of their home faithful will be their target come Saturday afternoon.
Yorkshire bragging rights will not be the only thing on offer this weekend, as both Barnsley and Bradford aim to pick up a 37thsuccess in this fixture.
After 102 meetings between the two Clubs, they are both locked on 36 wins a piece and while the other 30 clashes have ended as draws, three points will be fiercely contested for at Valley Parade on Saturday.
The Reds’ most recent success in this fixture came in October when a Rory McArdle own goal, as well as strikes from Sam Winnall and Kane Hemmings earned Danny Wilson’s side a 3-1 victory at Oakwell and in the process extended their unbeaten run against the Bantams to six games.
That was the first meeting between the sides for over eight years; with the Clubs crossing paths four times during the 2005-06 campaign.
Despite a quartet of meetings however, Bradford failed to pick up a single victory with both league clashes ending as stalemates and the Reds coming out on top in the FA Cup following a 5-3 replay triumph in West Yorkshire.
With draws aplenty, the final meeting between the Clubs in the 2004-05 season ended 2-2 after Anthony Kay’s late leveller for the Reds but three months prior to that and the Bantams earned their most recent success in this fixture as a second-half Dean Windass spot-kick earned themselves a 1-0 win at Valley Parade.
Boss Lee Johnson will have to decide whether to keep faith with the Club’s youngsters or recall some of his more experienced players for the derby trip to Bradford this weekend.
The Reds head coach made five changes for last Saturday’s draw against Peterborough with Mason Holgate, Jack Cowgill and Paul Digby all starting at Oakwell.
With Johnson keen to build a young squad for the future however, involvement in the derby would provide invaluable experience to the likes of Holgate, Cowgill and Digby, as well as Rhys Oates, George Maris and James Bree who will all be desperate to be involved at Valley Parade.
If Johnson does opt for experience, both Martin Cranie and Peter Ramage wait in the wings but both Jean Yves-Mvoto and Dale Jennings look set to miss out for the Reds once again through injury.
For Bradford, defender Rory McArdle returns to the squad after sitting out Tuesday night’s game at Scunthorpe due to suspension.
The centre-half was dismissed in last Saturday’s draw at Sheffield United after receiving two yellow cards but should start against the Reds this weekend.
In attack, manager Phil Parkinson has an abundance of options, with Billy Clarke, James Hanson and Jon Stead vying for starting berths against the Reds.
All three may be given the nod; with Clarke starting from the wing, as the trio of attackers go head-to-head to be named the Club’s top goal scorer this season.
Man in the Middle
Cheshire-based referee Scott Mathieson will take charge of both Barnsley and Bradford City for a 12thtime on Saturday afternoon. The official oversaw the Reds 1-0 derby success at Sheffield United back in November which was the Club’s fourth victory in nearly a dozen matches under Mathieson’s control. The other seven meetings have all ended in defeats however; but with November’s success at Bramall Lane, the Reds will be hoping their fortunes have changed in the official’s company.
For the Bantams, they have won just three of their 11 meetings with Mathieson; losing five and drawing three. The most recent of those games came in early September, when the Cheshire referee was in charge of Bradford’s 1-0 Football League Trophy defeat at Oldham. On that occasion, Mathieson showed yellow cards to Bradford pair Mark Yeates and Matthew Dolan, which are just two of 41 handed out by him this season in 17 games.
Despite being rather lenient with his yellow card, the same cannot be said for Mathieson’s red equivalent; with the referee brandishing nine so far this time out. On Boxing Day, the experienced official – who will be assisted by linesmen Marc Edwards and Graeme Fyvie at Valley Parade - sent off Mansfield’s Ryan Tafazolli as well as Hartlepool duo Marlon Harewood and Michael Woods as the sides played out a fiery 1-1 draw. Mathieson’s most recent dismissal came on Saturday when he gave Accrington Stanley defender Nicky Hunt his marching orders after just two minutes for raising his hand to Stevenage’s Charlie Lee as the Clubs played out a 2-2 draw.
Their Star Man
The Barnsley defence will have to be on their toes this weekend as Bradford’s trio of strikers; Billy Clarke, James Hanson and Jon Stead go all out to claim the Club’s top goal scorer award. Although all three have impressed this season, it is Irishman Clarke who currently edges ahead; having netted 13 times so far in what is the former Ipswich strikers first campaign with the Bantams. The 27-year-old agreed a two-year deal with the West Yorkshire outfit back in June following two-and-a-half years at Crawley Town where he scored 24 goals in 92 appearances before his release last summer.
The Bantams quickly snapped up the former Republic of Ireland U21 international and although he failed to score on his debut, the forward provided the assist for Hanson’s 90thminute winner against Coventry City at Valley Parade. It took the ex-Blackpool man eight games to bag his first goal in Bradford City colours as he struck the winner in a 2-1 success at the MK Dons but following a return of just two goals in 20 games, things looked bleak for the Cork-born front man. Clarke soon put his doubters to bed however, with six goals in 10 games between November and February including a winner at Chesterfield, as well as strikes in victories against Leyton Orient, Dartford and the MK Dons.
A six game goalless spell proceeded that fine run of form but Clarke – who also has three assists this season - was soon back amongst the goals with a brace at home to Oldham in late March, as well as the second in a 3-0 triumph at Doncaster a week later. Clarke’s most important goal in recent times came last Saturday however, with the forward netting a late equaliser at Sheffield United to end the Bantams’ three-match losing streak, before the in-form Irishman found the back of the net once again on Tuesday night at Scunthorpe to make it two in two.
In July Barnsley announced the signing of defender Reece Brown on a one-year contract. The former Manchester United youngster moved to Oakwell for an undisclosed fee from Watford, for whom he made three appearances during the 2013-14 campaign; which included a loan move to Carlisle United. The versatile defender – brother of former England international Wes – made his Reds bow in a disappointing 1-0 home defeat against Crawley and it proved to be a difficult start to life at Oakwell for Brown with back-to-back defeats, but things soon began to improve with the centre-half playing the full 90 minutes in wins against Crewe and Gillingham at the end of August.
The former England youth international helped the Reds pick up further victories against York, Rochdale and Chester and although those triumphs were just five of six wins during his time with the Club, Brown played the final few minutes as the Reds beat Bradford 3-1 in October. Despite losing six of his 18 games in Barnsley colours, Brown did help the Reds keep five clean sheets including one in his final appearance as Barnsley beat Chester 3-0 in an FA Cup replay. That outing was Brown’s 18thfor the Reds but in late January the defender’s contract was cancelled by mutual consent, with the emergence of James Bree and Mason Holgate pushing Brown further down the pecking order at Oakwell.
With Brown already having played for nine different Clubs across the Football League – including Bradford City - he will not be short of admirers. The Manchester-born defender joined the Bantams on loan from Manchester United in August 2010 and featured three times for the Club in League Two including a 3-1 home win against Cheltenham and defeats against both Morecambe and Burton Albion. Despite not featuring heavily, Brown gained valuable experience as he made both his professional and Football League debuts; playing the full 90 minutes in his trio of outings. Following that temporary switch to Valley Parade, Brown enjoyed similar spells at Doncaster, Oldham, Coventry and Ipswich before his permanent move to Watford in 2013. After a year at Vicarage Road and another loan move – this time to Carlisle – he completed his switch to Barnsley at the start of the campaign.
Bradford City’s last five at home: (DWLLL)
Bradford City 2-2 Fleetwood Town
Bradford City 2-0 Oldham Athletic
Bradford City 0-1 Chesterfield
Bradford City 0-3 Preston North End
Bradford City 0-6 Bristol City
Barnsley’s last five away from home: (WDDLD)
Oldham Athletic 1-3 Barnsley
Leyton Orient 0-0 Barnsley
Bristol City 2-2 Barnsley
Colchester United 3-1 Barnsley
Notts County 1-1 Barnsley
Going to the match?
Bradford City plays at Valley Parade, its address is as follows:
Bradford City Football Club
Coral Windows Stadium
How to get there
Take M606 towards Bradford
From M62 exit at j26
From the North West / West take M6 then M60 Manchester Ring Road to join M62 eastbound then:
From the North East take A1 southbound to join A1/M1 link then join M62 westbound. From the South take M1 or A1 northbound to join M62 westbound.
At end of motorway take the middle or right hand lane and follow signs for Ring Road East (under tunnel) onto Rooley Lane (signs Leeds/Bradford Airport). McDonalds is now on your left. Over traffic lights at Asda Superstore and turn left at roundabout into Wakefield Road. Stay in middle lane. Over two roundabouts staying in the middle lane (signs to Shipley & Skipton) on to Shipley Airedale Road (A6037) which then becomes Canal Road. After Tesco, Staples & P C World (on left) go over traffic lights and turn left into Station Road (A6177) and left again into Queens Road.
Then up the hill to third set of traffic lights and turn left into Manningham Lane. After Gulf Petrol Station (on left), take first left into Valley Parade for Stadium.
First Bradford and Keighley & District Travel Company operate frequent bus services from Bradford city centre, Bradford Interchange and outlying areas to the Coral Windows Stadium (buses stop on Manningham Lane or Queens Road).
The nearest Rail Station for the Stadium is Bradford Forster Square. Services are operated by Northern Rail. Bradford Interchange also connects with Leeds City station for National Express East Coast and Cross Country services.
Tickets are priced as follows:
Senior (Over 60s): £14
Student (with valid ID): £14
Juvenile Under 16: £12
Juvenile Under 11 (with full paying adult): £5
The official club coaches depart Oakwell at 11:45am on matchday and is priced at £14 per seat.
Tickets will remain on sale until 4pm on Friday 24th April, subject to availability.