The Reds will be looking to get their play-off push back on track when they travel to Colchester today.
Sheffield United’s 2-0 win at Oakwell on Saturday ended Barnsley’s nine-match unbeaten run and with it brought to an end the Club’s undefeated record under new head coach Lee Johnson.
The Reds are also without a victory in their last four outings following three draws and a defeat which leaves Johnson’s side sitting ninth and four points outside the play-off places.
The Club can take heart from their recent away form however; having not tasted defeat in their last five on the road which has seen them pick up victories at Scunthorpe, Gillingham and Oldham, as well as draws at both Leyton Orient and Bristol City on their most recent away trips.
In complete contrast, the U’s have hit some form in their last three games, despite their position towards the bottom of the table.
A 2-0 triumph against Yeovil, a 2-2 draw at Gillingham and a 2-1 success at Port Vale has left Tony Humes’ side just four points adrift of safety in 23rdplace with seven games left to play.
Prior to the Club’s current run the U’s had lost four in a row and tasted success only twice in nine games and if Humes’ men avoid defeat against the Reds, it will be only the second time they have gone four matches unbeaten this time out.
If the U’s are to get something from the game however, they will have to improve on their home form – despite beating relegation rivals Yeovil in their last outing there - having lost four of their last six games at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
Three points will not be the only thing on offer this Monday, as Barnsley and Colchester both target a 14thwin in this fixture.
The two sides are locked on 13 wins apiece, with the other 11 clashes between the Clubs ending in draws.
Barnsley may have a psychological edge going into the game at the Weston Homes Community Stadium however, with the Reds unbeaten in the last three clashes between the sides.
The most recent of those matches came in November when the Reds secured a narrow 3-2 success at Oakwell after goals from Sam Winnall, Conor Hourihane and Peter Ramage in the first meeting in this fixture for nearly seven years.
Back in the 2007-08 campaign, Jon Macken’s 45thminute strike earned a 1-0 triumph for the Reds in South Yorkshire, while in Essex it ended 2-2 after Brian Howard’s late penalty rescued a point for Barnsley.
Colchester’s last win in this clash came back in February 2007 when strikes from Karl Duguid, Jamie Cureton and Hogan Ephraim secured a convincing 3-0 success for the U’s at Oakwell; but you have to go back yet another season for Colchester’s most recent home triumph in this fixture as Chris Iwelumo’s second-half goal earned a 1-0 win in August 2005.
Barnsley will check on the fitness of goalkeeper Adam Davies before they travel to Essex to face Colchester on Easter Monday.
The shot-stopper has missed the last two games with an abductor tear and is close to a return, but if not deemed fit enough, on-loan Sheffield Wednesday man Joe Wildsmith will continue in between the sticks.
Boss Lee Johnson may opt to rotate his outfield players following the Club’s 2-0 home defeat against Sheffield United on Saturday, with Dale Jennings, Kane Hemmings and James Bailey all chomping at the bit for a starting berth at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
The game comes too early for defender James Bree however, but the youngster has returned to training and could return to action in the next few weeks.
For the U’s, defender Richard Brindley will make his home debut for the Club after joining on loan from Rotherham last week.
The former Norwich man made his Colchester bow against Port Vale on Friday and could be joined in the U’s defence by Matthew Briggs, who returns to the squad after serving a one-match ban.
Another man returning to the Colchester side in recent times has been forward Rhys Healey, who re-signed on loan from Cardiff until the end of the season; having scored four times for the U’s in a similar loan spell from the Welsh Club earlier in the campaign.
Man in the Middle
Keith Hill will take charge of his 32ndgame of the season on Monday afternoon; having dished out 108 yellow cards and four reds. His first dismissal came in Leyton Orient’s 3-2 JP Trophy success at Peterborough in which Orient man Romain Vincelot was given his marching orders. Birmingham’s David Edgar, Sheffield United’s Patrick McCarthy and more recently Tranmere’s Liam Ridehalgh have also seen Hill reach for his back pocket; but eight years ago, Reds winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce also received that fate in a 3-2 defeat at Bristol City in December 2007.
That was one of three defeats that the Reds have suffered in Hill’s company, with the most recent coming in November last season when the Club lost 1-0 at Millwall. Hertfordshire-based Hill – who will be assisted by linesmen Neil Davies and Gavin Muge, as well as fourth official Ian Fissenden – has taken charge of one Barnsley draw and two victories however, including one this season in his last meeting with the Reds. On that occasion goals from Kane Hemmings and a Dale Jennings double saw the Reds beat Chester 3-0 in an FA Cup replay after the initial game at Oakwell ended goalless.
Their Star Man
Having joined Colchester on loan from West Ham during the summer, the U’s moved swiftly to secure the services of George Moncur on a permanent deal in November. After netting three goals including one on his debut in a 2-2 draw against Oldham, as well as further strikes against Bristol City and Sheffield United, an undisclosed fee was agreed which saw the West Ham academy graduate pen a deal with the Club until 2017.
Moncur – the son of former Hammers midfielder John – has continued to impress since making his permanent move and despite a spell of just one goal in 28 games following his strike against the Blades, the ex-England youth international has returned with two in his last two games. The in-form midfielder bagged the opener in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Gillingham last month and then struck a low shot from 14 yards to give Colchester the lead as they defeated Port Vale 2-1 on Good Friday. Despite improving his goal return of late, Moncur – who has previously spent time on loan at both AFC Wimbledon and Partick Thistle – has only one assist to his name and will be looking to develop that part of his game in the coming months and seasons.
Experienced defender Chris Barker has notched up over 500 appearances for eight different Clubs but it all began at Barnsley for the current Aldershot man. Born in Sheffield, Barker made his professional debut for the Reds after joining them from Alfreton Town in 1999 and helped the Club keep a clean sheet in a 3-0 home success against Tranmere at the age of 19. That fine start was the beginning of a remarkable first season at Oakwell for Barker, as the Reds finished fourth and reached the play-off final at Wembley – where they lost to Ipswich – as well as being awarded with the Club’s Young Player of the Year award.
The versatile defender continued to be a regular during the 2000-01 season; making 46 appearances as he received Barnsley’s Young Player of the Year award once again, as well as helping the Club keep 15 clean sheets as the Reds finished 16th. In what would be his final campaign at Oakwell, Barker featured another 49 times and although it would end in huge disappointment, the centre-half did manage to score his first goals for the Club; netting consolations in defeats against Norwich and Wolves, as well as Barnsley’s second in an entertaining 4-4 draw at Portsmouth. Despite helping the Club keep a clean sheet in his final appearance against Wimbledon, it was not enough as the Reds suffered relegation to the old division two after finishing a point adrift of safety.
Following that demotion, Barker completed a switch to divisional rivals Cardiff for a fee in the region of £500,000; where he spent five years including loan spells at both Stoke and Colchester. Barker joined the U’s in August 2006 and made his debut for the Club in a 2-1 Championship loss at West Brom. Things got a bit brighter on his home debut as the Essex-based outfit defeated Derby 4-3 and despite only initially arriving at the Weston Homes Community Stadium for a few months, Barker spent the entire campaign with the U’s as they finished 10thand kept 12 clean sheets – including one against the Reds. Spells with QPR, Plymouth and Southend would follow before he penned a deal with Aldershot in 2013, where he remains as caretaker boss after the dismissal of Andy Scott in January.
Colchester’s last five at home: (LWLLW)
Colchester United 0-1 Milton Keynes Dons
Colchester United 3-2 Bristol City
Colchester United 0-1 Notts County
Colchester United 2-3 Crawley Town
Colchester United 2-0 Yeovil Town
Barnsley’s last five away: (WWWDD)
Scunthorpe United 0-1 Barnsley
Gillingham 0-1 Barnsley
Oldham Athletic 1-3 Barnsley
Leyton Orient 0-0 Barnsley
Bristol City 2-2 Barnsley
Going to the match?
Colchester United plays at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, its address is as follows: The Weston Homes Community Stadium, Colchester, Essex, CO4 5UP.
How to get there
To access the stadium, you can make use of the A12 Junction 28.
A12 - JUNCTION 28
December 2010 saw the new junction serving the Weston Homes Community Stadium open to the public.
This means that the stadium is now just seconds from the main A12 trunk road that serves East Anglia.
From the south (Ipswich bound carriageway): To access the stadium from the south, turn off at Junction 28, turning right at the first roundabout. Go across the bridge and then go straight over the second roundabout, before turning right into United Way from the third roundabout. You are now at the stadium.
From The North & M11: Leave the A14 and then join the M11. Come off the M11 at J8 (Stansted Airport/A120) and follow the A120 towards Braintree & Colchester. The A120 then joins the A12 and after passing the stadium on your right, leave the A12 at Junction 28. Turn left at the first roundabout, the turn right into United Way from the second roundabout.
The postcode of the stadium is CO4 5UP, but you may find that your sat nav system does not acknowledge this postcode at present. It is recommended to use CO4 5JS, which is the nearby Rapid Electronics factory.
Alternative access: Alternatively, you can come off the A12 at the next junction and take a left onto the A1232. When at the top of this road, bear right back over the A12 towards the traffic lights with the BMW Garage on your left. Go straight over and up Ipswich Road. At the next set of traffic lights, turn right onto Severalls Lane (signposted just previously for Colchester Cattle Market). Follow this road to its conclusion, where you will pick up signs for the stadium.
The nearest station to the ground is Colchester North which is just under two miles away from the stadium. Located near to the station at Bruff Close is a free shuttle bus service that will take you to the ground. It takes around 10 minutes to reach the stadium.
The official club coaches depart Oakwell at 9am on matchday and is priced at £27 per seat.