Reds v Middlesbrough
FA Cup 3rd Round
Saturday 3rd January, 2015
The Reds will seek a return to winning ways when they welcome Middlesbrough to Oakwell for the FA Cup third round on Saturday afternoon.
Prior to Monday night’s postponed clash with Oldham, Danny Wilson’s side went down to a narrow 1-0 Boxing Day defeat in Lancashire against Preston and with back-to-back wins against Chester and Leyton Orient before that, they will be desperate to bounce back at Oakwell.
The reverse at Deepdale however, means that the Reds have now won just two of their last eight games in all competitions, which has included defeats against Chesterfield, Scunthorpe, Walsall and North End.
Three of those losses have come away from South Yorkshire, with the Reds faring slightly better at Oakwell; unbeaten in three at home in both league and cup, and losing just one of their last seven in home surroundings.
Wilson’s men will have to be at their best if they want to continue that Oakwell form however, with Saturday’s visitors Boro bang in form; having lost only two of their last 16 games.
That run has included seven Championship wins, which leaves Aitor Karanka’s side third in the division and with three wins in their past five outings including a 5-1 thrashing of Millwall, the Reds will have to resilient in their bid to cause an upset.
Boro’s 2-0 defeat at Ipswich two weeks ago may give Wilson’s squad confidence though, but having won seven times on the road this season and with just that one defeat in five games away from the Riverside Stadium, the 1997 FA Cup runners-up still pose a huge threat.
The Reds will be able to draw upon a good recent home record against Boro however, winning four of the past five meetings between the sides at Oakwell; the most recent of which arrived in October 2013.
On that occasion Barnsley raced into a 3-0 half-time lead following a two-minute Chris O’Grady brace and an opener from Paddy McCourt and despite a late double of his own from Albert Adomah the Reds hung on to record a 16th victory in this fixture.
In the reverse clash at the Riverside in April, it was a much more sombre afternoon for the Reds, with late strikes from Lee Tomlin and Danny Graham not only condemning them to a 3-1 defeat but also to relegation from the second tier.
Barnsley will welcome back Ross Turnbull for the visit of Middlesbrough after the ‘keeper served a one-match suspension against Preston.
The shot-stopper was sent off for handling outside the box in the Reds win against Leyton Orient and was replaced by Adam Davies for the defeat at Deepdale.
Boss Danny Wilson could still be without defenders James Bree and Joe Dudgeon however with the latter missing the Club’s last four games with a hamstring problem.
Teenager Mason Holgate has continued to impress in Dudgeon’s absence though but he won't be joined in the starting line-up by George Williams, who is cup-tied having featured for Worcester during their brilliant FA Cup run this season.
Williams is cup-tied for this weekend
For the visitors, Australian midfielder Rhys Williams made his long awaited return from injury on Boxing Day in the Club’s 3-0 home triumph against Nottingham Forest and will be desperate to be involved again following 11 months on the sidelines.
Former Barcelona man Damia Abella and explosive winger Mustapha Carayol remain long term absentees for Boro, but defender Daniel Ayala has now fully recovered from illness and could start again alongside attacking duo Jelle Vossen and Adam Reach, who have both impressed of late.
Man in the Middle
The man in charge of Saturday afternoon’s FA Cup clash is Northamptonshire based official Dean Whitestone, who will also be ruling over his ninth Barnsley game. Whitestone oversaw the Reds’ 2-1 defeat at Port Vale earlier in the season, but did award the visitors a penalty after Conor Hourihane was bundled over in the box, before duly dispatching the resulting spot kick.
That defeat however, was the fourth in the company of Whitestone, and despite wins against Plymouth back in December 2008 and Leicester in January 2012 the official has not proved to be a lucky charm for the Reds so far.
Man in black - Whitestone
The Northamptonshire-based referee will be taking charge of his 17th game of the campaign and second of the FA Cup this time out after overseeing Dover Athletic’s FA Cup upset at Cheltenham in the second round.
The official – who is yet to brandish a red card this season – has ruled over some hotly-contested games however, handing out five cautions as the MK Dons beat AFC Wimbledon 3-1 in the League Cup, as well as another five as Oldham beat Rochdale 3-0 at Spotland in a fiery Lancashire derby in late November.
Their Star Man
Ahead of the 2014-15 campaign, midfielder Grant Leadbitter had 10 goals to his name after two seasons in the North East with Middlesbrough.
A footballer’s form can take a huge leap or a massive dip in a matter of games however and for the 28-year-old it has been the former, with the ex-England U21 international more than doubling his Boro goal scoring tally so far this season; notching his 11th goal of the campaign two weeks ago as the Riverside Club swept aside Nottingham Forest.
The energetic midfielder joined Boro in May 2012, signing a three-year deal after leaving Ipswich, whom he joined from boyhood Club Sunderland.
Leadbitter in action against Blackburn
The Middlesbrough number seven bagged on his Boro debut in a 2-1 win at Bury and despite making his league debut against Barnsley in a 1-0 defeat it would be another 19 games before he could celebrate his first league goal which came at Birmingham. The former Rotherham loanee ended his first season with four and after adding another six last time out he began to adhere himself to the Boro faithful.
Two of those six strikes came from the spot but this season the County Durham-born tackler has converted seven penalties including a 90th minute winner at Huddersfield in a 2-1 success.
That game saw Leadbitter bag a brace, which was his third of the season following doubles against both Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich. With two goals to his name in his last four appearances the ex-Ipswich man is a major threat, with his ability to assist in front of goal an added danger that the Reds will have to prepare for on Saturday afternoon.
Bradford-born midfielder Jacob Butterfield burst onto the Barnsley scene seven-and-a-half years ago, making his debut at St James Park in a 2-0 defeat at the age of just 17. Against a side boasting the likes of Michael Owen and Obafemi Martins it was some introduction to senior footballer for the youngster, who joined the Reds from Manchester United when he was 15.
Following two seasons of familiarising himself with becoming a first team member at Oakwell, Butterfield was thrown into the action in the 2009-10 campaign; netting on the opening day of the season as Barnsley fought back from 2-0 down to earn a 2-2 draw at local rivals Sheffield Wednesday, before going onto make 25 appearances, including a 13-minute cameo against former Club Manchester United in the League Cup.
The dominating midfield man would play an even more pivotal role in the 2010-11 season, featuring 41 times and scoring twice in wins against both Nottingham Forest and Bristol City.
With his reputation growing around the footballing world, the 24-year-old began the following season with high expectation and he lived up to it with another five strikes as well as being named captain for the Club’s 1-1 draw at Watford at the age of just 21.
Butterfield, as Reds captain, celebrating a typically thunderous goal against Birmingham (photo - David Field, Action Images).
With everything on such a high for the ex-England U21 international, Butterfield came back down to earth with a bang after he was ruled out for the second-half of the season with a serious injury following a New Year’s Eve clash against Leeds United.
That cruel blow did not distract potential suitors however and in the summer of 2012 Butterfield joined Premier League side Norwich after his Barnsley contract expired.
Unfortunately for the midfielder that move did not end as successfully as he had hoped and after just two appearances at Carrow Road and loan spells at Bolton and Crystal Palace, Butterfield joined Middlesbrough at the start of last season for an undisclosed fee.
The former Barnsley youngster did not take long to become a regular at the Riverside Stadium though; making 32 appearances last season for Boro including two against the Reds, the second of which ended in relegation for the Tykes.
Butterfield – who moved on again this summer and returned to Yorkshire with Huddersfield as part of a swap deal including Adam Clayton – found the back of the net three times in a Boro shirt; firing in victories against Yeovil and Birmingham as well as the winner at Turf Moor as Boro defeated promotion chasing Burnley 1-0.