The Reds will go in search of a fourth consecutive victory for the first time in over two years when they welcome managerless Coventry City to Oakwell on Tuesday night.
Wins against Crewe, Scunthorpe and Gillingham have left Lee Johnson’s side sitting just four points outside the play-off places in 12th and with the Reds also picking up three clean sheets during their impressive run, they are bang in form.
Another victory on Tuesday evening however – which would be the first time the Club has earned four wins in a row since the 2012-13 season – would move them even closer to the division’s top six and after securing 15 points out of the last 18 available at Oakwell, the Reds will be full of confidence ahead of Johnson’s home debut as Head Coach.
Tuesday’s visitors Coventry will also go into the game in buoyant mood after they ended their seven-match winless streak with a 2-1 home success against the MK Dons on Saturday afternoon.
Four draws and three defeats had seen the Sky Blues – who are searching for a new manager after the dismissal of boss Steven Pressley last month – drop into the relegation zone but after claiming a fifth home league win of the season they now sit one point above the bottom three.
The victory also extended the Club’s unbeaten run to three games following draws against both Scunthorpe and Sheffield United in recent weeks, but with the Sky Blues failing to win on the road since early January, interim managers Neil MacFarlane and Dave Hockaday will be trying to work their magic once again when they travel to South Yorkshire.
The Reds and the Sky Blues will meet for the 57th time on Tuesday night, with both sets of supporters eager for a repeat of the 56th clash between the sides which came earlier this season.
In August the Reds fought back twice to earn a 2-2 draw at the Ricoh Arena in an entertaining encounter which saw Conor Hourihane and Leroy Lita bag for Danny Wilson’s side in what was the first stalemate between the two Clubs since April 2009.
The match also saw Barnsley and Coventry lock horns in the league for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign.
Back in February 2012 - in what was a sixth consecutive season of league meetings between the Clubs - Clive Platt’s last-gasp winner was enough for the hosts at the Ricoh Arena, but it was a different story in South Yorkshire as Andy Gray’s double won it for the Reds.
Following Coventry’s relegation to League One in May 2012 the Clubs have met just once in the past two seasons and that came last January in the FA Cup, as Leon Clarke’s late strike saw the Sky Blues progress.
New Head Coach Lee Johnson will have a defensive selection dilemma on his hands as the Reds prepare to host Coventry on Tuesday night.
Frenchman Jean-Yves M’Voto returns from a one-match ban against the Sky Blues but his replacement in Saturday’s win at Gillingham, Mason Holgate, will be eager to start after impressing once again in the Barnsley back four.
Experienced defender Peter Ramage may also boost Johnson’s options even further, while Adam Davies is set to start in between the posts for a fourth consecutive match as the Reds seek a fourth clean sheet in as many games.
For managerless Coventry, former Barnsley loanee Nick Proschwitz will be hoping for a first start for his new Club, after joining on loan from Brentford last month.
The giant forward was introduced as a 57th minute substitute on Saturday in place of another former Red Marcus Tudgay at the Ricoh Arena, but will be keen to be involved from the off at Oakwell.
Frank Nouble – who had loan spells at Barnsley in 2011 and 2012 from West Ham – is close to returning from a hamstring injury and could feature on Tuesday night, while captain Jim O’Brien is almost certain to start against his former employers as the energetic winger returns to Oakwell for the first time since departing the Club last summer.
Man in the Middle
North-East based referee Tony Harrington will be assisted by linesmen Karl Evans and Alf Greenwood, as well as fourth official Mark Dwyer, as he takes charge of a Barnsley game for just the second time. In April last season the referee oversaw the Club’s goalless draw at home to Brighton in which he brandished red to Barnsley’s Kelvin Etuhu after the winger picked up two yellow cards in two minutes for challenges on Seagulls’ winger Kazenga LuaLua.
That dismissal was his sixth of the campaign, but so far this season the Cleveland-based official is yet reach for his back pocket in 23 games. Harrington – who has never been involved in a Coventry game before – has shown 62 yellow cards however with seven of them being brandished in Wigan’s 0-0 draw at home to Brentford in October, while the official handed out the same amount later that month in Leeds United’s goalless draw against Reading at Elland Road.
Their Star Man
With the Club struggling for both goals and for form, Coventry concluded the emergency loan deal signing of Reading striker Dominic Samuel in late January. Following goalless loan spells at Colchester and Dagenham & Redbridge in recent seasons, the transfer came with caution but in what has been a sensational start to life at the Ricoh Arena for Samuel, there was never any need to worry.
The 20-year-old made an instant impression after bagging on his debut in a 2-2 home draw against Rochdale, which was the former England U19 international’s first goal in senior football. Despite failing to get himself on the score sheet in Coventry’s next two games, the pacey front man returned with a bang; netting a brace at Sheffield United as the Sky Blues let their 2-0 lead slip to draw 2-2 against the Blades. With three goals in four games to his name Samuel went into Saturday’s clash with the MK Dons full of confidence and it took the Southwark-born striker – who has made two first-team appearances for Reading - just 12 minutes to register his fourth of the campaign, with his cool finish turning out to be the winning strike against the promotion-chasing Dons.
Dutchman Arjan de Zeeuw would go onto become one of the most loved foreign footballers plying their trade in English football over the last decade but it was Barnsley who brought the powerful figure to England just over 19 years ago. Signed from Dutch second division side Telstar at the age of 25 for a fee in the region of £250,000, the defender quickly became a regular at Oakwell; making 49 appearances and helping the Reds keep 18 clean sheets in the 1996-97 season as Barnsley were promoted to the top flight for the first time in their history.
Despite suffering immediate relegation back to the Championship including heavy defeats against both Chelsea and Manchester United, De Zeeuw marshalled the Reds defence as the Club picked up its first ever success in the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, while he played the full 90 minutes at Anfield as the Reds secured a famous 1-0 victory against Liverpool back in November 1997. Following the Club’s demotion, De Zeeuw bagged a brace on the opening day of the 1997-98 Championship season as the Reds fought back on two occasions to draw 2-2 against West Brom at Oakwell. In an impressive goal scoring campaign for the no-nonsense defender, he struck the winner in a 1-0 success at Stockport as well as a late equaliser against Crewe. That goal would prove to be his last for the Club however, with the Dutchman leaving Oakwell after the expiration of his contract in May 1999.
Two months later and the former Telstar man joined Wigan Athletic, where he would spend three years before a similar length spell at Portsmouth, in which he helped them win promotion to the Premier League. Following two campaigns in the top flight with Pompey, De Zeeuw returned to Lancashire and to Wigan in August 2005 as the Latics prepared for their first ever season in the Premier League. The fans favourite quickly established himself in the Club’s defence once again and put in some heroic performances as Wigan finished comfortably in mid-table. Despite being heavily involved in that achievement, De Zeeuw found first-team opportunities limited a season later and in June 2007 he agreed a one-year deal with Tuesday night’s visitors Coventry.
A pre-season injury saw the then 37-year-old miss several games at the start of the campaign but after making his Coventry bow in a 3-0 home reverse against Bristol City, De Zeeuw would go onto make 19 appearances in Sky Blues colours. The former Red – who is now an investigative detective back in the Netherlands since retiring from the game in 2009 – had to wait five games for his first win as a Coventry player but following that, the giant centre-back helped the Sky Blues pick up back-to-back wins at Stoke and QPR while he played 85 minutes as his new side beat his former employers Barnsley 4-0 in February 2008. Unfortunately for De Zeeuw injury would hamper his time at the Ricoh Arena and after being deemed surplus to requirements by manager Chris Coleman, he returned home for a brief spell with ADO’20 before announcing his retirement and beginning a new career in the police force.
Barnsley’s last five at home: (WWWLW)
Barnsley 2-0 Yeovil Town
Barnsley 2-1 Port Vale
Barnsley 1-0 Oldham Athletic
Barnsley 1-2 Fleetwood Town
Barnsley 2-0 Crewe Alexandra
Coventry’s last five away: (WLDLD)
Walsall 0-2 Coventry
Gillingham 3-1 Coventry
Yeovil Town 0-0 Coventry
Preston North End 1-0 Coventry
Sheffield United 2-2 Coventry