Barnsley will be eager to rekindle their fading hopes of a top six finish when they host play-off rivals Chesterfield on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds are now without a victory in five games following three draws and back-to-back defeats over the Easter weekend against both Sheffield United and Colchester.
Those two losses leave Lee Johnson’s men in 11thplace and seven points behind sixth place; which is currently occupied by this weekend’s visitors, Chesterfield.
The Spireites sit four points clear of seventh placed Rochdale following a fine run of form of late which has seen them win four in a row against Walsall, Bradford, Yeovil and Crewe.
Those victories means it is now seven wins from their last nine outings for Paul Cook’s side and with three triumphs in their last four on the road, the Spireites will be going all out for an eighth win away from the Proact Stadium this season.
Barnsley will be seeking a first win in four matches in this fixture when Chesterfield travel to Oakwell this weekend.
In November the sides met for the first time in nearly nine years and despite a late strike from Keith Treacy, it proved only a consolation for the Reds, with Eoin Doyle’s double earning the Spireites a 34thwin in this fixture.
Back in the 2005-06 campaign both meetings between the Clubs ended as stalemates; with a goalless draw at the Proact Stadium in January 2006, before a 1-1 score line three months later at Oakwell after Derek Niven’s late strike cancelled out Brian Howard’s first-half opener for the Reds.
In the previous 2004-05 season, Barnsley clinched their last victory in this clash, with Anthony Kay netting an 87thminute winner against 10-man Chesterfield; who had Mark Inness sent off in the second-half.
Later in that campaign, it ended all square between the sides once again as Michael Boulding hit a brace in a 2-2 draw; meaning it is now four games without a win for Barnsley against the Spireites.
Strikers Sam Winnall and Jabo Ibehre are set to return for the Reds as they face a vital clash against play-off rivals Chesterfield.
Lewin Nyatanga is hoping to shake off a nasty cut to the eye to make the squad this weekend, but Peter Ramage is waiting in the wings for a return to action and could fill his place.
Winnall started from the bench in Monday’s defeat at Colchester, while strike partner Ibehre was unable to feature against his parent Club at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
That means Milan Lalkovic and George Waring could drop to the bench, but in midfield, James Bailey is likely to keep his place after impressing head coach Lee Johnson against the U’s.
Just like the Reds, visitors Chesterfield have no fresh injury or suspension concerns but could opt to rotate following a busy few weeks.
Forwards Jay O’Shea and Gboly Ariyibi were included from the off against Crewe on Easter Monday but veteran midfielder Ritchie Humphreys and striker Byron Harrison – who made way for O’Shea and Ariyibi – look set to be recalled by Paul Cook at Oakwell.
Man in the Middle
The appointment of County Durham-based official Geoff Eltringham as Saturday’s referee will have been greeted with caution by large proportions of the Barnsley faithful. Eltringham – who will be assisted by linesmen Paul Hodskinson and Shaun Hudson at Oakwell – has taken charge of six Barnsley games in the past, with the Reds winning two – against Blackpool and Coventry - but also losing four of those clashes. The two most recent of those meetings stand out more prominently for the Reds however, with the Club suffering a 6-0 defeat at home to Charlton in which Stephen Dawson and Tom Kennedy were both sent off by Eltringham, while in August 2013, the official dismissed Dale Jennings as the Reds went down to another Oakwell defeat; this time a 4-0 loss at the hands of Wigan.
Eltringham – who will also be assisted by fourth official Richard Bartlett in South Yorkshire – has been a regular with the red card again this season; sending off seven players in 31 games as well as brandishing 81 yellow cards. In August, the official sent off both Cieron Keane and former Red Nicky Wroe but it would not prove costly for Notts County as they held on to beat Colchester 2-1 despite ending the game with nine men. At the end of last year, Eltringham reached for his back pocket in three consecutive games; sending off Norwich midfielder Bradley Johnson, Nottingham Forest’s Britt Assombalonga as well as Eastleigh’s Dean Beckwith. That dismissal was Eltringham’s most recent however; making it 14 games since he produced a red card.
Their Star Man
Experienced winger Gary Roberts is a player that Barnsley will have to keep a close eye on this weekend, with the former Ipswich, Huddersfield and Swindon man capable of both scoring and assisting in the most difficult of situations. The 31-year-old scored 12 goals in 47 appearances as the Spireites won promotion in his first season with the Club last year and despite only scoring half the amount of those goals so far this season, Roberts has nine assists to his name; helping the Club with yet another promotion push.
The former England C international – who spent time in the Liverpool academy before a spell in Wales – netted his first goal of the season in his sixth outing but it proved to be the winner at Port Vale in a 2-1 away success. Further strikes in wins against Sheffield United and Braintree, in a 1-1 draw at Crawley in late November and a winner in the Club’s 1-0 FA Cup triumph at the MK Dons in early January were followed up by his most recent goal, which came in March when the tricky wide man netted once again against the Dons in an impressive 2-1 win at Stadium:MK.
Despite failing to score in his last seven games, Roberts has turned provider; assisting two in his last two games including a clever chip to the back post against Crewe on Monday which was headed in by full-back Tendayi Darikwa. In mid-March, the Liverpool-born attacker was in fine form; assisting two goals in the Club’s 3-2 home defeat against Coventry for both Jay O’Shea and Gboly Ariyibi, and then twice again just three days later as the Spireites bounced back with a 3-0 win against Gillingham. The Reds defence will be well aware of his credentials however, with Roberts creating an opening for Eoin Doyle back in November as the Spireites edged the Reds 2-1 at the Proact Stadium.
Utility man Sam Togwell arrived at Oakwell during the summer of 2006 for an undisclosed fee after leaving Crystal Palace. The Buckinghamshire-born midfielder made just one start for the Eagles after progressing through their youth academy which included loan moves to Oxford, Northampton and Port Vale.
Togwell – who joined Barnet on a free transfer in July – made his Reds debut in a 2-1 home defeat against Cardiff and went onto make 46 appearances in total during his first year at Oakwell as the Club finished the season in 20thplace and survived relegation by eight points. It took the more defensive minded midfielder 40 games to notch his first goal in Barnsley colours but it proved only a consolation as his 90thminute strike was not enough to prevent a 2-1 Oakwell reverse against Derby County.
Despite only scoring once, Togwell was a regular for the Reds during that season, but in the 2007-08 campaign, the former Red fell down the pecking order at Oakwell and was limited to just 27 appearances. The 30-year-old did manage to net his second goal for the Club however; scoring in the opening minute as the Reds held Southampton to a 2-2 draw in South Yorkshire. Togwell was also part of the Club’s infamous FA Cup run; playing in the Reds’ victories against Blackpool and Southend, as well as the final 15 minutes as the Club held off late pressure from Chelsea to earn a remarkable 1-0 win and with it a place at Wembley.
Togwell failed to feature under the arch however and in August 2008 he left Oakwell and joined Scunthorpe on a free transfer; where he would spend four years before a move to Chesterfield in May 2012. The hardworking midfielder made his Spireites bow in a 2-1 defeat against Tranmere and made 50 appearances as the Club narrowly missed out on the play-offs. Three goals came the ex-Barnsley man’s way in his maiden season at the Proact Stadium; notching in wins against Cheltenham and future Club Barnet, as well as a last gasp equaliser in a 2-2 draw against Bradford. Similarly to his time at Barnsley, Togwell failed to remain a regular in his second season and after only nine appearances he joined Wycombe on loan in March last year. Although he returned to make a late substitute appearance in a 2-1 success against Fleetwood as the Spireites crowned their promotion to League One as Champions, he was released in May and a move to Conference side Barnet was agreed.
Barnsley’s last five at home: (WWWDL)
Barnsley 2-0 Crewe Alexandra
Barnsley 1-0 Coventry City
Barnsley 3-0 Walsall
Barnsley 1-1 Preston North End
Barnsley 0-2 Sheffield United
Chesterfield’s last five away: (LWLWW)
Rochdale 1-0 Chesterfield
Milton Keynes Dons 1-2 Chesterfield
Peterborough United 1-0 Chesterfield
Bradford City 0-1 Chesterfield
Yeovil Town 2-3 Chesterfield