Newly appointed Barnsley Head Coach Lee Johnson takes his side to Gillingham on Saturday full of confidence after back-to-back wins and a first success on the road for nearly four months.
Tuesday night’s victory at Scunthorpe moved the Reds to within four points of the play-off places and after ending a run of seven straight league defeats away from Oakwell, Johnson’s men will travel to Kent in buoyant mood.
The game at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium will provide the Reds with an opportunity to secure three league wins in a row for the first time this season, while a third consecutive clean sheet would show real signs of progression for the Club this season.
Saturday afternoon’s hosts Gillingham will provide tough opposition for Johnson’s Barnsley debut however, with the Gills currently embarking on a seven-match unbeaten run.
Three wins in their last four league games against Sheffield United, Peterborough and the MK Dons leaves Justin Edinburgh’s side 11th in the table and just three points outside the top six.
Despite seeing their three-match winning streak brought to an end with a 2-2 draw at Yeovil last weekend, the Gills have won their last four on the bounce in front of their home faithful and with the Club unbeaten since the appointment of boss Edinburgh they will be out to continue that fine run of form on Saturday.
Barnsley and Gillingham will meet for the 28th time on Saturday afternoon, with the two Clubs reunited this season following an eight-and-a-half year absence.
The meeting at Oakwell back in August was the first time the sides had crossed paths since the 2005-06 campaign, with the Reds coming out on top in South Yorkshire.
Goals from Conor Hourihane, Sam Winnall, Devante Cole and Dale Jennings earned a 4-1 triumph for Danny Wilson’s men and with it a fourth consecutive win for the Reds in this fixture.
In the 2005-06 season Barnsley completed the double over the Gills, with Chris Shuker, Paul Hayes and Daniel Nardiello securing a 3-0 success in Gillingham, while a solo strike from wide man Shuker was enough to earn a narrow 1-0 win at Oakwell.
A 3-1 triumph – in which Chris Lumsdon opened the scoring for the Reds – started the Club’s mini-run back in December 2002, but four months prior to that and the Gills earned their last victory in this fixture as Marlon King’s brace helped them on their way to a 3-0 success.
Barnsley will be without defender Jean-Yves Mvoto for the trip to Gillingham with the Frenchman sitting out a one-match ban.
The former Oldham man was sent off in Tuesday night’s win at Scunthorpe after receiving two yellow cards so new boss Lee Johnson will have to decide whether to go with the youth of Mason Holgate or recall Peter Ramage who has been suffering with a thigh injury of late.
Forward Sam Winnall has also been struggling to recover from a hamstring problem in recent weeks but could be amongst the substitutes against Gillingham after returning to training, while Adam Davies will be searching for his third clean sheet in a row if Ross Turnbull fails to recover in time from a back injury.
For the Gills, powerful midfielder Amine Linganzi played 45 minutes for the Club’s development side on Tuesday afternoon and could be set for a return to the starting XI after struggling with a hamstring complaint of late.
Young striker Luke Norris featured alongside Linganzi as the Gills’ U21 side beat Bournemouth 2-1 and after scoring four goals in seven days for the Club’s second-string, as well as their equaliser against Yeovil on Saturday, the ex-Brentford front man is pushing for a start on Saturday.
Man in the Middle
The Reds will cross paths with Somerset-based official Kevin Johnson for the first time on Saturday afternoon; with the referee embarking on his first season in the Football League. Johnson – who will be assisted by linesmen Graham Kane and Daniel Leach as well as fourth official Carl Fitch at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium – took charge of 21 games in the Conference last season but began life in the Football League with a 1-1 draw between Tranmere and York, in which he brandished just one yellow card.
Things have got a bit more interesting for the Weston-Super-Mare referee however; handing out 67 yellow cards and four reds. The first of those came in September when he dismissed Shrewsbury’s Andy Mangan as the Shrews went down to a 1-0 defeat at Southend, while just a game later and Johnson brandished red to Port Vale forward Jordan Slew in his side’s 1-0 loss at Fleetwood. In the FA Cup the official sent Rochdale’s Ian Henderson for a very early bath after the forward kicked out at Northampton’s Ben Tozer after just 15 minutes, but his most recent dismissal came in mid-December when Peterborough’s Joe Newell received his marching orders after receiving two yellow cards.
Despite never overseeing a Barnsley or a Gillingham game before, Johnson – who has worked in the Football League as a linesman prior to this season – will take charge of his seventh League One game of the campaign on Saturday; with the official yet to referee in the Premier League.
Their Star Man
Despite only being plucked out of non-league football in 2009 by Norwich City, striker Cody McDonald has quickly developed into an accomplished Football League forward. The 28-year-old scored 25 goals in 43 appearances during a loan spell with the Gills in 2010 and after a brief spell at Coventry, the front man returned to the MEMS Priestfield Stadium for a second loan spell in January 2013. Four goals in seven games adhered himself to the Gillingham fans even more and following his release from parent Club Coventry, the Gills snapped up the forward on a permanent deal in July 2013.
Last season McDonald bagged 17 goals for the Gills including a winner against Sheffield United and three strikes in his final four games of the campaign against Tranmere, Walsall and Preston as Gillingham finished 17th on their return to League One. This year the former Norwich man is well on his way to surpassing that goal feat with 14 goals to his name already this campaign. A goal on the opening day of the season against the MK Dons was a sign of things to come for the Gills’ number 10, with his brace helping the Club to a 2-1 success against Peterborough in September, while his last-gasp winner against Leyton Orient a month later helped Gillingham move out of the relegation zone.
The Essex-born attacker – who also has three assists to his name this season – is the Gills top goal scorer this time out and with two goals in his last four games including strikes against both Sheffield United and the MK Dons, the Barnsley back-line will have to be prepared for a difficult afternoon against one of the division’s finest forwards.
Despite only being 23, one-time Premier League striker Frank Nouble already has seven loan moves to his name. After leaving Chelsea as a youngster, the striker joined West Ham but after failing to secure a regular starting berth at Upton Park, the Hammers sent the youngster out in order to gain some valuable first-team experience. The London-born forward joined the likes of West Brom, Swindon, Swansea and Charlton on short-term loan deals but both Barnsley and Gillingham also became the temporary homes for the current Coventry man.
In January 2011, Nouble dropped down a division from Premier League outfit West Ham United to join Mark Robins’ Barnsley side. Despite huge excitement surrounding his arrival the attacker made just four appearances in a Barnsley shirt; helping the Reds to a 2-0 success against Preston and a 1-1 draw against Ipswich, as well as featuring in defeats at both Leicester and Portsmouth. Following his month at Oakwell, Nouble joined Charlton on loan for the remainder of the season but just a year later and the former England youth international was back in South Yorkshire.
After returning to the Club – this time under the leadership of Keith Hill who praised the forwards unpredictability – Nouble featured six times for the Reds and although he started five of those games including a 1-1 draw at Blackpool, the former Chelsea man’s stay was an unpleasant one with the Reds losing against Southampton, Reading, Crystal Palace, Ipswich and Cardiff as the striker failed to make any serious impact at the Club.
Following that second loan spell Nouble returned to West Ham, where he was released and immediately snapped up by Wolves. Despite failing to score at Oakwell, it was the strikers early season form while on loan at Saturday’s hosts Gillingham which stood in his favour as he searched for a new Club. Five goals in 15 appearances for the Gills including one on his debut in a 6-1 thrashing of Hereford showcased glimmers of the talent which saw Nouble feature in the Premier League. Another strike on his home debut against Burton, as well as goals against Torquay, Aldershot and Morecambe earned the tall forward a fine reputation amongst the Gillingham faithful during his stay at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium.
Nouble – who joined Wolves after his second spell at Oakwell – spent only half-a-season at Molineux before joining Ipswich in January 2013. Two years later and his time at the Suffolk-based Club was over however after he agreed a six-month deal with Coventry in January after a loan spell with the Sky Blues, for whom he is set to feature for against the Reds next week.
Gillingham’s last five at home: (LWWWW)
Gillingham 1-3 Bristol City
Gillingham 3-1 Coventry City
Gillingham 3-2 Oldham Athletic
Gillingham 2-0 Sheffield United
Gillingham 4-2 MK Dons
Barnsley’s last five away: (LLLLW)
Doncaster Rovers 1-0 Barnsley
MK Dons 2-0 Barnsley
Swindon Town 2-0 Barnsley
Crawley Town 5-1 Barnsley
Scunthorpe United 0-1 Barnsley
Going to the match?
Gillingham plays at the MEMS Priestfield stadium, its address is as follows:
Gillingham Football Club
MEMS Priestfield Stadium
How to get there
From the South: Exit the M2 at junction 4 onto the A278. Follow signs for Gillingham driving over two roundabouts before taking the first exit off the third roundabout onto the A2. Continue until you come to the next roundabout (Premier Inn to your left) and take the third exit onto the A289. At the first roundabout take the first exit onto Cornwallis Avenue. Continue along Cornwallis Avenue over the traffic lights before turning right into Toronto Road. Take the second left off Toronto into Redfern Avenue, where you will see the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on your left.
From the North: Exit A2 at junction 1 (M2) onto the A289. Follow signs for Medway Tunnel. After about three miles take the second exit off the roundabout, again following signs towards Medway Tunnel. At the next roundabout take the first exit. At the next roundabout take the first exit into the Tunnel. On exit follow the A289 over two sets of traffic lights before coming to the Strand roundabout. Take the third exit onto Church Street. Drive up the hill and continue over the level crossing. Take the second left after the crossing and follow Linden Drive to the end. Turn right into Redfern Avenue, where you will see the MEMS Priestfield Stadium on your right.
This is restricted to roads surrounding the Stadium but visiting supporters should note that the following roads are restricted to permit holders only. A list of roads to avoid are as follows: Balmoral Road, Windsor Road, Ferndale Road, Linden Avenue, Priestfield Road, Gordon Road, Livingstone Road, Coulman Street, Beaconsfield Avenue, Harold Avenue, School Lane, Toronto Road, Redfern Avenue and parts of Sunnymead Avenue.
Traffic Wardens can be found in numbers on matchdays so it is strongly recommended you choose alternative parking areas. Suggested alternatives include: Furthest part of Sunnymead Avenue, Chicago Avenue, Canadian Avenue, Valley Road, Sturdee Avenue, Woodlands Road, Carlton Avenue, Alexandra Avenue, Larkfield Avenue, Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue.
Woodlands Primary School has offered the use of its car parks for supporters' use.
Its 100-plus spaces will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at £3 each from 1.30pm for every Saturday match until the end of the season. Please note that the car park is not available outside of the football season and anyone parking there over the summer is liable to find their car locked inside the school.
Staff will be on hand to assist with the arrangements and will be locking the gates at 6pm.
Visiting supporters can take advantage of four trains per hour, all departing from Victoria Station (London). There are two fast trains, which complete the journey in 50 minutes departing at five past the hour and 25 minutes to the hour. Two slower trains leave Victoria at 10 past the hour and 20 to the hour - these taking the slightly longer time of one hour and 10 minutes to complete the journey to Gillingham.
From Charing Cross supporters will find two trains per hour departing at 27 minutes past the hour and three minutes to the hour, trains from Charing Cross complete the journey to Gillingham in one hour and 10 minutes.
Times are approximate and may vary from weekdays to weekend days.
On leaving Gillingham station turn left on to Balmoral Road. Walk for about five minutes down Balmoral Road until you come to the end. Straight opposite Balmoral Road you will see Priestfield Road. The away turnstiles are located at the top of Priestfield Road. The walk from the station should take no longer than 10 minutes.
Tickets are sold as UNCOVERED SEATING and are priced as follows:
Juvenile (Under 18 years): £10
Juvenile (Under 12 years): FREE (max. 2 per adult)
The official club coaches depart Oakwell at 8:45am on matchday and is priced at £28 per seat.
Tickets will remain on sale until 4pm on Friday 27th February, subject to availability.