Swindon Town v Barnsley preview
The Reds will target a first away win in over three months when they travel down the M1 to face promotion-chasing Swindon Town on Saturday afternoon.
Danny Wilson’s men go into the game following back-to-back home victories against Port Vale and Oldham which has seen them climb to 13th place and just four points outside League One’s top seven.
The Club’s Oakwell form – where they have won four games on the bounce – is a complete contrast to that on the road, where they have suffered five defeats in their last five away league games, with their last success coming back in early November against Sheffield United.
Swindon meanwhile, tasted defeat for the first time in six games last weekend when they went down to a 2-0 loss against the Blades, but with four wins in five matches prior to that the Robins are still very much bang in form.
In League One, Mark Cooper’s outfit have picked up 28 points from the last 36 available which leaves them sitting in third place and just one point behind the automatic promotion spots.
The Wiltshire Club are firmly on course to achieve a play-off finish this time out after failing to make the grade last season and with five wins in their last six home games including four clean sheets, they will not provide easy opposition for the Reds as Wilson’s men try to bring an end to their miserable record away from Oakwell.
Barnsley and Swindon will meet for just the second time in nine years when the Reds travel down the M1 to the County Ground on Saturday.
September’s meeting saw the two Clubs come together for the first time since the 2005-06 campaign, with goals from Nathan Byrne, Jake Reeves and top goal scorer Andy Williams earning a comfortable 3-0 win for the Robins at Oakwell.
Back in that 2005-06 campaign it was a different story as the Reds completed the double over the Robins.
In South Yorkshire Paul Hayes and Chris Shuker netted for 10-man Barnsley – who had Robbie Williams sent off in the second-half – as they clinched a 2-0 success, while in Wiltshire the Reds went one better and picked up a 3-0 win following a brace from Chris Shuker after Martin Devaney had opened the scoring.
Those clashes came in a fourth consecutive season of meetings between the two Clubs, with results at the County Ground mixed over the years; including two draws, a 2-1 Swindon victory back in February 2005 as well as Barnsley’s 3-0 success the last time the two sides met in Swindon.
Tuesday night’s match winner Kane Hemmings looks set to start his third consecutive game for the Reds as they travel to Swindon this weekend.
The 22-year-old has been named in Danny Wilson’s starting XI for the Reds’ recent victories against Port Vale and Oldham, with the former Rangers man netting a first-half winner against Latics.
Fellow striker Sam Winnall stepped up his recovery from a hamstring injury with another 20 minutes of action on Tuesday and should feature again from the bench at the County Ground.
Meanwhile in defence, teenager Mason Holgate returns from a three-match ban but may have to settle for a place amongst the Barnsley substitutes alongside Winnall, with the Reds forming a solid back four in their recent victories against Port Vale and Oldham.
For Saturday’s hosts Swindon, Asian Cup star Massimo Luongo – who was named the tournament’s best player – returns after missing the Club’s last four games whilst on international duty.
The former Tottenham playmaker netted twice and made four assists as Australia clinched the trophy, with Luongo’s form generating huge interest during the January transfer window including a £2million bid which was turned down by the Robins.
That means Luongo will be involved at the County Ground and he could line-up alongside new signing Jermaine Hylton who joined from non-league side Redditch United last month after scoring 45 goals in two seasons for the Club but is yet to make his full debut for the Robins.
Man in the Middle
Gary Sutton takes charge of his 22nd game of the season at the County Ground on Saturday afternoon. So far this term the official has brandished 61 yellow cards and three reds which were shown to Brighton’s Kazenga Lua Lua, Fleetwood’s Jamie Proctor and Port Vale’s Chris Lines as the Valiants lost 1-0 at the MK Dons.
The Lincolnshire referee will also be in charge of his sixth Barnsley game this weekend with the most recent meeting between Sutton and the Reds coming earlier this season when they travelled to Oldham for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Danny Wilson’s side fought back from two goals down to take the game to penalties but unfortunately for the Reds, they suffered shoot-out heartache and it was the Lancashire side that progressed. That loss was the third Reds defeat overseen by Sutton following disappointing afternoon’s against both Burnley and Ipwsich but despite that, there has been some success for Barnsley in the official’s company, as they beat Millwall 2-0 at Oakwell in January 2013 and Rochdale 4-3 back in August 2012 when Chris Dagnall netted the winner in the League Cup.
Their Star Man
During the summer of 2012 forward Andy Williams opted to leave Yeovil Town to sign for League One promotion rivals Swindon, who had just been promoted to the third tier.
The Hereford-born attacker netted 12 times in 48 appearances as the Robins reached the play-off semi-finals, where they suffered defeat on penalties against Brentford following a 4-4 aggregate score line. Williams’ former Club Yeovil did reach the League One play-off final however and after a pulsating encounter at Wembley, the Glovers beat Brentford 2-1 to clinch promotion to the Championship.
With Williams potentially regretting his switch away from Huish Park, he began last season with the Robins and scored once in the Club’s opening four games before a loan switch to former Club Yeovil was offered to the former Bristol Rovers frontman. The 28-year-old returned to Somerset and made nine goalless appearances for the Club before he suffered a serious cruciate knee injury in training which ruled him out for the rest of the campaign.
Despite that injury and his move away from the Club, Williams returned to the Swindon starting XI this time out and he has never looked back. The tall forward has netted 19 times in 32 appearances, including braces in big wins at Notts County, Walsall and Coventry.
With only Chesterfield’s (now Cardiff's) Eoin Doyle finding the back of the net more times than Williams in League One this season it has been a remarkable campaign for the Hereford United youth product, who has bagged 17 goals in his last 24 outings and eight in his last nine including a vital late winner against promotion rivals Preston back in early November. Although that record has shown no sign of slowing down in recent weeks, the Reds can take some heart after Williams failed to bag for the first time in six games as the Robins lost 2-0 at Sheffield United last weekend.
Experienced defender Jay McEveley agreed a two-year contract with the Reds back in July 2010 after making over 100 appearances for Derby County. The former Everton and Blackburn Rovers youngster made a disappointing start to his Barnsley career, as the Reds suffered a 4-0 hammering at QPR.
Things soon picked up for the ex-Scotland international however; netting a first-half header against Norwich in his sixth outing for the Club, before helping the Reds thrash rivals Leeds United 5-2 in September 2010. With his performances at Oakwell really beginning to gather pace, everything came to a crashing halt in October of that season, as the versatile defender was ruled out for up to four months after suffering medial ligament damage and undergoing knee surgery.
The former Ipwsich and Preston North End loanee returned to the Reds line-up in March 2011 and helped his new side keep a clean sheet against former employers Derby, as he ended the season with 18 appearances to his name. With his injury nightmare behind him, McEveley began the 2011-12 campaign full of confidence and helped the Reds keep five clean sheets as he cemented a regular spot in the Barnsley back four.
The 29-year-old also featured as the Reds completed the double over Leeds, with Ricardo Vaz Te bagging a hat-trick in a 4-1 success at Oakwell. Despite being a firm favourite in the Club’s defence, McEveley joined League Two promotion-chasers Swindon Town on loan in March 2012 under the Paulo di Canio regime.
The utility man was thrown straight in at the deep end after his move to the County Ground; making his debut in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final at Wembley against Chesterfield.
Unfortunately for the Robins, the showpiece event ended in a 2-0 defeat but that was the only low for McEveley at the end of the 2011-12 season, as Swindon clinched promotion to the third tier as League Two champions, following five wins in eight games and seven clean sheets during McEveley’s short spell in Wiltshire.
Liverpool-born McEveley returned to Oakwell following his loan spell but just a few months later and he was travelling down the M1 once again to sign a permanent deal with the Robins.
He made his second debut for the Club in a 3-0 home League Cup success against Brighton and went onto make 33 appearances as Swindon finished sixth and narrowly lost out to Brentford on penalties in the play-off semi-final. With his new Club eager to go one better, McEveley made 37 outings for the 1969 League Cup winners last season but was sent off twice as the Robins finished eighth.
After 70 appearances in a Swindon shirt the defender was one of 10 players released by the Club in May, but with his experience in the game, McEveley was not short of admirers and in August he signed a one-year deal with League One rivals Sheffield United.
Going to the match?
Swindon Town play at the County Ground, its address is as follows:
The County Ground
How to get there
Travelling from the East and West - Leave the M4 at Junction 15. Take the Commonhead Roundabout. Turn left onto the A4259 Marlborough Road. Take the 2nd exit at the roundabout onto Queens Drive. At the next set of roundabouts take the 3rd exit onto County Road the entrance to the ground is on the first right.
Travelling from the Midlands - Take the M40 to Junction 9. Then take the A43, A34 and then the A420 into Swindon. At Drakes' Roundabout turn onto Queen's Drive. At the next set of roundabouts take 3rd exit onto County Road, the entrance to the stadium is the first right.
There are limited spaces available at the County Ground, but there are several Town centre car parks situated 1/2 mile from the stadium. There is parking available for supporters both home and away within the stadium complex priced at £10. There are 12 allocated Disabled bays.
Please call the Operations Manager on 0844 880 1099 if you would like to reserve a space.
There is also parking at St Joseph's School behind the Ground on Ocotal Way. Parking at the school costs £5.
From the front of the station turn left onto Station Road. Facing the White House pub, head right onto Corporation Street.
At the traffic lights turn left onto Manchester Road. At the end of Manchester Road turn right onto County Road. The entrance to the stadium is the second left. This walk should take approx 10 minutes.
Tickets are priced as follows:
Senior (Over 65s): £19
Student (with valid NUS): £19
Juvenile (under 19 years): £17
Juvenile (Under 16 years): £12
The official club coaches depart Oakwell at 9:30am on matchday and is priced at £27 per seat.
Tickets will remain on sale until 4pm on Friday 6th February, subject to availability.