Crawley Town v Barnsley
Saturday 14th February, 2015
Head of Academy Coaching Mark Burton and Senior Development Coach Paul Heckingbottom take charge of the Reds this weekend as they travel to West Sussex to face a struggling Crawley side on Saturday afternoon.
Two defeats in four days this week has seen Barnsley drop four places into 17th and with three losses in their last five games, a first win in seven away matches could not come at a better time.
Tuesday night’s reverse against play-off chasing Fleetwood brought an end to the Club’s five-match unbeaten home run but with Saturday’s hosts Crawley sitting eight points below the Reds in 23rd, another defeat away from Oakwell could see the Reds dragged even closer to the League One trap door but a win would bring about hopes of a late Play-Off push once more.
Just like the Reds, Crawley suffered their second straight defeat on Tuesday night following a 5-0 thrashing at home to Doncaster.
The defeat was the Club’s fifth in their last six games which leaves Dean Saunders’ outfit five points adrift of safety with 16 games left to play.
Away from the Checkatrade.com Stadium the Red Devils have been in abysmal form this season; losing 10 out of 15 including their last six, but at home Saunders’ men had been unbeaten in their last three – including a 2-1 success against Preston – prior to Tuesday’s humiliating defeat against Donny.
Saturday’s clash in West Sussex will give Crawley the perfect opportunity to bounce back from that loss, but with the Reds also in desperate need of the three points, a first ever meeting between the two Clubs at the Checkatrade.com Stadium has the potential to be an entertaining one.
Sam Winnall faces a race against time to be fit for this weekend’s trip to Crawley with the striker continuing to suffer from a hamstring problem.
The forward has failed to start a game since November and was withdrawn from the substitute’s bench last weekend after feeling a tweak in his hamstring during the warm up at Swindon.
George Waring and Kane Hemmings have continued to deputise in the former Scunthorpe man’s absence but with only four goals between them this season, Caretaker bosses Mark Burton and Paul Heckingbottom may be tempted to hand recalls to Leroy Lita and Alex Kiwomya.
Crawley will be without captain Joe Walsh following the defender’s straight red card against Doncaster for raising his hands to Donny’s Richie Wellens.
Sonny Bradley is waiting in the wings to replace the Red Devils skipper but Dean Saunders may opt to throw experienced centre-half Dean Leacock back into the mix with the former Derby man close to a return from a groin injury, which has ruled him out since Boxing Day.
Man in the Middle
Surrey-based referee Darren Sheldrake will take charge of a Barnsley game for the first time in two years when they travel to West Sussex on Saturday.
In February 2013 the official oversaw the Reds’ 2-1 home win against Wolves in which Chris Dagnall and Jacob Mellis found the back of the net. The only other previous encounter between Barnsley and Sheldrake came a year earlier, in March 2012, but it proved an unhappy first meeting between the pair, as the Reds were thrashed 4-0 at home to Reading in the Championship.
Sheldrake – who will be assisted by linesmen Nicholas Cooper and Paul Kelly at the Checkatrade.com Stadium – takes charge of his 20th game of the campaign at the weekend, with the official brandishing a staggering eight red cards so far this season.
After dismissing Yeovil’s Nathan Ofori-Twumasi in his first outing of the season, the referee then flourished another four red cards in just six games.
In November, Sheldrake sent off players in three consecutive games including one to Shrewsbury’s Jermaine Grandison in his side’s 2-1 win at Dagenham, another to Cheltenham’s Lee Vaughan as the Robins suffered a 4-1 home defeat against Wycombe, as well as one to Gillingham defender Joe Martin back in early November as the Gills beat Saturday’s opponents Crawley in the League Cup.
Their Star Man
In a game of ups and downs, striker Izale McLeod is certainly on one of the higher points of his career after signing for the Red Devils in June.
Successful spells at the likes of Barnet and the MK Dons saw the striker make a name for himself, but more difficult periods at Derby County and Charlton saw many question the former England U21 stars ability. There have certainly been no doubts about McLeod’s talent at the Checkatrade.com Stadium however, with the front man proving to be the shining light in a difficult campaign; netting 12 goals in 31 appearances so far this season, including three in his first three appearances.
On his Red Devils debut the forward netted the only goal of the game as Crawley and Barnsley met for the first time. That solo strike was enough to earn all three points for John Gregory’s side at Oakwell, against a Reds side which had to play the final half-an-hour with 10 men after Dale Jennings was sent off.
In a hot streak of form, McLeod bagged against both Ipswich and Swindon and despite then going six games without finding the back of the net, the former MK Dons star struck the winner as Crawley beat Fleetwood 1-0 in September.
Three goals in four games during November continued the Birmingham-born attackers fine run of form and although he saw red after being involved in a 21-man brawl against Chesterfield at the end of that month, McLeod returned with a brace against former Club the MK Dons in a 2-2 draw at the Checkatrade.com Stadium.
The Crawley no.9 – who also has two assists this season - then endured a four-match goalless streak but that form was soon rectified, with the Derby County youth product bagging in the Club’s 2-1 defeat at Yeovil last weekend.
Arsenal academy graduate Isaiah Rankin completed his transfer from Bradford City to Barnsley in January 2001 for a fee in the region of £350,000.
At the age of just 22 the Reds became the attackers’ sixth Club – following a loan spell at Colchester while with the Gunners and further loan spells at Bolton and Birmingham during his stay in West Yorkshire at Bradford. Rankin made his Barnsley debut in a 2-1 loss at Burnley but made only nine appearances in the 2000-01 campaign as the Reds finished 16th in the old division one.
The Edmonton-born forward did score one goal during that spell however, and it was an important one; netting a last gasp winner against Tranmere as the Reds fought back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Prenton Park.
In the following 2001-02 campaign, Rankin bagged another 90th minute winning strike as the Reds narrowly beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 at Oakwell, but that goal would be the only one for the former Arsenal man as Barnsley suffered relegation to the now known League One.
The 2002-03 season was another difficult campaign for both Rankin and Barnsley, as the ex-Bradford City front man failed to become a regular once again; making only nine appearances. He did add two goals to his Reds tally however, with the second of those proving invaluable, with his last minute 20-yard drive earning a 1-0 success against Brentford and with it safety from relegation.
That goal appeared to add some impetus to his Reds career with the striker making 26 appearances and scoring six goals in the 2003-04 campaign. Despite that improved form, Rankin joined division two rivals Grimsby on loan in February 2004.
During that stay the former Red bagged in a 6-1 Mariners success against Barnsley which led to a fall out with manager Gudjon Thordarson and with it the cancellation of his Reds contract. Grimsby snapped up the forward on a short-term deal but after they suffered relegation to the old division three, Rankin moved on for yet another challenge. Two years at Brentford, followed by spells with Macclesfield, Stevenage and former Club Grimsby, ended with a switch to this weekend’s hosts Crawley Town in July 2008.
Plying their trade in the Conference, Rankin made his Red Devils bow in a 1-0 defeat at Forest Green Rovers. A series of niggling injuries restricted the Arsenal youth product to just three starts in the first half of the campaign but things would get a lot worse in January 2009, as Crawley were deducted four points after the Conference announced that they had failed to receive registration for the player.
Those lost points saw the Red Devils drop out of the play-off places and despite three goals in the second half of the season including one in his last appearance for the Club at Barrow, Crawley finished ninth and 11 points outside the top five.
After six starts Rankin left the West Sussex outfit and following a spell in non-league football with the likes of Forest Green and Hendon, the former Barnsley forward announced his retirement at the end of last season.
Going to the match?
Crawley Town plays at the Checkatrade.com Stadium, its address is as follows:
How to get there
Exit the M23 at the Pease Pottage junction 11. Take the third exit (brown sign for Stadium) and the ground is on your left at the bottom of Brighton Road, approx 2 mins from the M23 junction.
There is car parking at the Stadium priced £5 and free parking in nearby business parks.
Crawley Train Station is the closest to the Checkatrade.com Stadium but you can also get there from Three Bridges or Gatwick Airport stations.
There is a taxi rank outside Crawley station, which will be charged by the mile (max 2 miles).
Fastway 10 serves the Checkatrade.com Stadium every 7 minutes and drops you right outside the stadium. There are 12 buses an hour which go past the Stadium so you will never have to wait long for a service.
From Crawley Rail Station: Cross the road outside the station to Crawley Bus Station. Go to Stop A and catch Fastway 10 to the Checkatrade.com Stadium.
From Three Bridges Rail Station: Follow signs to stop C near the station and catch Fastway 20 to the Checkatrade.com Stadium.
Tickets are priced as follows:
Senior (Over 65s): £18
Young adult (18-21 years): £18
Juvenile (Under 18 years): £14
Juvenile (Under 11 years): £6
The official club coaches depart Oakwell at 9:30am on matchday and is priced at £28 per seat.
Tickets will remain on sale until 4pm on Friday 13th February, subject to availability.