Barnsley v Port Vale
Saturday 31st January, 2015
The Reds will be desperate to return to winning ways when they make a welcome return to Oakwell this weekend against Port Vale.
Defeats on the road at both Doncaster and the MK Dons in recent weeks has left Danny Wilson’s side sitting perilously close to the League One trap door and with five losses on the bounce away from home, the Barnsley boss will be hoping for continued improvement at Oakwell.
Victories against Leyton Orient and Yeovil in their previous two home league encounters means it is now just one defeat in six in front of their home faithful in the league and with Oldham the visitors to South Yorkshire on Tuesday evening the Reds will look to make the most of home advantage this week.
Wilson’s men will be boosted even further by Port Vale’s disappointing record on the road this season, with the Valiants winning only three times in 13 away games, drawing three and losing seven; two of which have come in their most recent away games at Swindon and Chesterfield.
Despite those poor away performances, Rob Page’s side remain in 12th place and just two points outside the play-off places thanks to their impressive results at Vale Park this season.
Seven wins in 10 home games has turned their Burslem ground into a fortress and with four victories in their last seven games they will pose a huge threat to Barnsley’s recent good turn of form at Oakwell on Saturday afternoon.
Barnsley will be eager to put an end to their nine-match winless run against Port Vale when the Valiants travel to South Yorkshire this weekend.
Six defeats and three draws means it is now over 12 years since the Reds last picked up a win in this fixture; with Rory Fallon and Paul Gibbs securing a 2-1 success for Barnsley in December 2002.
Since then the Reds have struggled in this clash; losing five of the last six meetings including earlier this season when the two sides met for the first time in over eight years.
In September Conor Hourihane netted from the spot to get the Reds back on level terms after Michael O’Connor’s first-half opener but with just a minute left to play Jamaican winger Mark Marshall struck the winner for Vale.
Former Barnsley midfielder Sam Togwell was the hero when the Valiants picked up a 3-2 win at Vale Park back in the 2005-06 campaign, while in the last Oakwell meeting between the Clubs a late Micky Cummins’ strike cancelled out Paul Hayes’ opener to record a 19th draw in this fixture.
Reds boss Danny Wilson may be able to call upon star striker Sam Winnall for the first time in over two months on Saturday.
The 24-year-old forward has nine goals to his name this season including six in his last six games but a hamstring injury picked up against former Club Scunthorpe in late November halted that progress.
Winnall’s long-awaited comeback would be a timely boost for the Reds, who may also welcome back centre-back pairing Peter Ramage and Martin Cranie who have both been absent recently with thigh and knee problems respectively, although on-loan Ramage was on the bench for last weekend’s defeat at the MK Dons.
Mason Holgate – who has been one of the shining lights for Wilson’s side this season – will miss out again at Oakwell however, as he serves the second of his three match ban after being dismissed against Doncaster two weeks ago.
Free scoring Port Vale forward Tom Pope returned to action following a 13-game absence last weekend as he played the final half-an-hour of Vale’s 1-0 home defeat against Crewe.
Pope – who netted 33 times as the Valiants were promoted from League Two in the 2012-13 season – is the Club’s joint top goal scorer this time out despite suffering from a knee problem in recent months and is set to start in place of Louis Dodds at Oakwell who suffered a fractured toe against Crewe.
One man who did not feature last weekend was Northern Ireland international defender Ryan McGivern, but the former Manchester City left-back should return against the Reds after injuring his arm against Coventry last month.
Former Barnsley loanee Carl Dickinson will be part of the visiting Port Vale party on Saturday afternoon, having joined the Valiants from Watford in 2013 via loan spells at Portsmouth and Coventry.
The full-back’s temporary switch to Oakwell came in the 2009-10 season, when the tough-tackling defender joined from Stoke City and made 29 appearances in a Barnsley shirt including one goal as he netted a 90th minute winning free-kick to defeat Cardiff City 1-0.
Man in the Middle
Experienced referee Graham Salisbury will take charge of his 13th Barnsley game this weekend with the official overseeing a mixed set of results for the Reds over the years.
In his 12 encounters with the Club the Lancastrian has officiated five Barnsley victories including their 3-1 win at Crystal Palace in March 2009, their 2-1 success at Elland Road two years later when Salisbury dismissed David Perkins three minutes from time, as well as three draws and four defeats.
Unfortunately for the Reds they have suffered defeat in their last two encounters in Salisbury’s company; having suffered a 2-1 derby loss at Sheffield Wednesday in March 2013 and a 3-0 reverse at Watford last season.
So far this season the Reds have not crossed paths with Salisbury but the official has taken charge of 21 games; dishing out 76 yellow cards and three reds. All three of those dismissals came in September, with the 52-year-old sending off Carlisle’s Paul Thirwell, Cambridge’s Tom Naylor and Watford’s Daniel Pudil in consecutive games.
Their Star Man
Forward Ben Williamson may have been overshadowed by strike partner Tom Pope in recent seasons but this time out the London-born attacker has taken his form to a higher level.
After joining the Valiants on loan from non-league side Hyde in 2011 – following a spell in Spain at the Glen Hoddle academy – Williamson netted just three times in 37 appearances but despite that the ex-Millwall trainee was offered a permanent deal at Vale Park and has since scored 15 goals in two seasons with the Valiants.
If you compare that to the return of Tom Pope - who found the back of the net 49 times in the previous two seasons – Williamson’s record looks poor but this time out the 26-year-old has scored nine and is level on goal scoring terms with former Crewe man Pope.
The pair have struck a decent partnership at times this term but with Pope missing 13 games because of a knee injury, Williamson has taken the Club’s goal scoring burden on his shoulders; netting three times in his last six appearances against Sheffield United, Gillingham and Peterborough. Earlier this season the ex-Bournemouth frontman scored his first career hat-trick in a League Cup tie against Hartlepool; taking only 18 minutes to net his trio of goals as the Valiants thrashed Pools 6-2 at Vale Park.
Utility man Rob Kozluk made Barnsley the sixth Club of his career back in July 2007 after leaving South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United following over 200 appearances for the Blades.
The Mansfield-born defender made his Reds debut in a 4-1 home defeat against Coventry as his new side ended the season in an uninspiring 18th place but despite that Kozluk played a big role as the Club enjoyed a remarkable campaign in the FA Cup.
The former Derby man featured in the Reds’ infamous wins against Liverpool and Chelsea while he played for all but four minutes of the Club’s 1-0 semi-final defeat against Cardiff at Wembley.
The 37-year-old helped Barnsley keep eight clean sheets in that 2007-08 campaign and he was a regular once again a season later; keeping another eight shut outs in 38 appearances as the Reds finished 20th and survived relegation by six points.
Kozluk was used primarily as a left-back throughout that 2008-09 season but he failed to feature as heavily in what would be his third and final season with the Club; making just 16 starts before his campaign was ended in January 2010 due to a knee injury picked up against Leicester. A 1-0 win for the Reds in that clash would prove to be Kozluk’s final outing in a Barnsley shirt and at the end of the season he was released by the Reds and re-signed by former Club Sheffield United.
After a season back at Bramall Lane, the full-back turned down a new deal and instead teamed up with former boss Micky Adams at Saturday’s visitors Port Vale on a short-term deal. With his stay at Vale Park destined to be a short one, Kozluk immediately set about making the most of his time at the Club; helping the Valiants to keep two clean sheets in his first three games against both Rotherham and Northampton.
Despite that, the ex-Huddersfield loanee made only four further appearances for Vale; winning two, drawing one and losing four in total before moving onto Bradford City in January 2012 on another short-term contract. The experienced utility man made 17 appearances at Valley Parade ahead of his departure in the summer of 2012, when he joined non-league side Ilkeston as player-coach.
Please be aware that Barnsley's fixture with Port Vale on Saturday 31st January at Oakwell has been designated all-ticket.
The Oakwell Box Office will sell home tickets until 10:30am on the day of the game. No tickets will be made available on the turnstiles.
Supporters wishing to purchase a ticket must have a checkable booking history for tickets purchased from Oakwell.
Adults from £20.00
Over 65's from £15.00
Young Adult (aged 17-21) from £15.00
Juvenile (aged 12-16) £10
Under 12's: £5.00*
*Price only applies when purchased with an Adult or Over 65s ticket.