The Reds will look to continue their improved recent form when they travel the short distance to face South Yorkshire rivals Doncaster on Saturday.
Following last weekend’s 2-0 success against high-flying Gillingham, the Reds have now won three of their last five games in all competitions which leaves them sitting 11thand just three points outside the play-off places with a game in hand.
If the Tykes are to extend their unbeaten run to four games however, they will need to improve on their away form in the league; having tasted success just once on the road in League One this term with defeats at Chesterfield and Rochdale as well as a draw in their last outing at Blackpool.
Hosts Doncaster meanwhile are without a win in their last five league games with three defeats and two draws during September; leaving them in the relegation zone on just eight points.
Four of those games have come under the guidance of interim manager Rob Jones but with two stalemates in their last three games including a 2-2 draw at home to Swindon on Tuesday night, things appear to be heading in the right direction for Saturday’s hosts.
Despite their poor league position, that result against the Robins also extended Donny’s unbeaten home run to four games with two wins and two draws in their last four outings at the Keepmoat Stadium and with just one loss in front of their home faithful all season, Jones’ side will not be taken for granted this weekend.
The Reds will be eager to end their five-match winless run against Doncaster when they travel to the Keepmoat Stadium this weekend.
Last season’s 1-0 defeat at the Keepmoat extended that poor record, with three draws and another Donny success coming Barnsley’s way since they last tasted success in this fixture.
That came back in November 2011 at Oakwell when a Craig Davies double earned the Tykes a 23rdvictory against Rovers.
You have to go back yet another season for Barnsley’s last away triumph against Donny however, with Danny Haynes’ brace securing a 2-0 win for the Reds in January 2011.
Head Coach Lee Johnson may opt to select the same Reds side for the third game running as they take on Doncaster this weekend.
The Barnsley boss fielded the same XI for the 2-0 win against Gillingham as he did for the Club’s 1-1 draw at Blackpool seven days earlier and with the Tykes beginning to climb the League One ladder it might be same again for Barnsley at the Keepmoat.
That would mean places amongst the substitutes for forwards Michael Smith and Simeon Jackson once again, with the duo eager to start from the off for the first time.
The pair could be joined on the bench by on-loan Arsenal midfielder Daniel Crowley as he continued his rehabilitation from a thigh injury with 20 minutes against Gillingham last Saturday.
One man who may not be included however is winger Ryan Williams, with the Australian still struggling to recover from a troublesome groin problem.
Doncaster will be without influential defender Gary Mackenzie, as the former Bradford loanee sits out the second of his three match ban after seeing red against Sheffield United last weekend.
Interim boss Rob Jones replaced Scotsman Mackenzie for Donny’s 2-2 draw against Swindon on Tuesday night but lasted only 36 minutes before Aaron Taylor-Sinclair came on in his place.
Former Aberdeen defender Taylor-Sinclair could start from the off this weekend if Jones does not deem himself fit enough, with fellow defender Luke McCullough still struggling with a knee injury.
Further forward and playmaker Harry Forrester will be pushing for a starting berth after having to settle for a place on the bench in recent weeks, while ex-Barnsley loanee Cameron Stewart will be eager to be included in the Donny starting XI after dropping out of the side in midweek.
Man in the Middle
Premier League referee Lee Mason will take charge of a Barnsley game for the first time in just over two years this weekend. Despite overseeing three Tykes’ defeats in the past, the Reds have enjoyed some extremely positive results in Mason’s company; including their last meeting with the Lancastrian when the Club beat arch rivals Huddersfield Town 2-1 at Oakwell in August 2013.
The Reds have also tasted success against Blackpool and Burnley when Mason has been in charge but the Club’s most significant meeting with the official came back in May 2006 when he oversaw Barnsley’s penalty shoot-out success against Swansea in the League One play-off final.
Given the fact that Mason has proved something of a lucky charm for the Reds, many Doncaster supporters may have begrudged the appointment for Saturday’s game, but for Donny they have also picked up some positive results when the 43-year-old has been in charge. The Bolton-based official watched over Donny as they secured a 3-1 victory against Hull City in August 2010, while he was also in charge for the Club’s 2-0 League Cup success against Ipswich all the way back in 2004. Despite being at the helm for defeats against Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa, Mason has not been a bad omen for Donny and having taken charge of three top flight games already this term – including Stoke’s win against Bournemouth last weekend – he will bring an abundance of experience to the game this Saturday.
Their Star Man
It may have been a difficult start to the new campaign for Saturday’s hosts Doncaster but in striker Andy Williams, Donny have a forward capable of turning the Club’s fortunes around sooner rather than later.
The 29-year-old completed a move to the Keepmoat Stadium in June; signing a three-year deal with the Yorkshire outfit after his Swindon Town contract came to an end. The transfer signalled a major coup for the then Doncaster manager Paul Dickov with Williams netting 22 goals in 52 appearances for the Robins last season as he helped them reach the League One play-offs.
Fortunately for Donny the Hereford United academy graduate did not score against them last term but this season he has found the back of the net three times for his new Club; including Donny’s second in their 2-2 draw against Swindon on Tuesday night.
Despite conceding a late equaliser in that game, Williams has proved he is more than capable of notching for his new Club but with the 2007 Football League Trophy winners struggling for form they will be desperate for their new forward to start hitting goals just like he did last season in League One. With new loan signing Keshi Anderson now supplying pace and creativity in the final third however, the goals should begin to flow again for the new Doncaster no.11, with a blossoming partnership appearing to be on the horizon for Saturday’s hosts.
Despite departing England in May 2014 after failing to make the breakthrough at Chelsea, attacking midfielder Milan Lalkovic returned to the country in January; joining the Reds on an 18-month contract after leaving Czech side FK Mlada Boleslav. The Slovakian wide man made his Tykes bow in a 2-0 home success against Yeovil and went onto make 17 appearances for the Reds in the second half of last season.
Lalkovic – who turns 23 in December – helped the Club pick up seven victories during his stay at Oakwell including a 3-0 home triumph against his former Club Walsall in March. Despite some impressive performances in Barnsley colours, the attacker failed to score for the Club however and in the summer his contract was ended early, with the winger’s final outing for the Reds coming in a 1-0 defeat at Bradford in April.
With Lalkovic showing glimpses of the talent which saw him snapped up by Chelsea as a youngster during his time at Oakwell, former Club Walsall captured his signature for a second time in July on a one-year deal. The Slovakian spent the 2013-14 campaign on loan with the Saddlers; netting six goals in 42 outings for the Club. That was not his first loan spell away from Chelsea however, with Lalkovic joining Saturday’s hosts Doncaster in August 2011 on a short-term deal.
The former Tyke made his Donny debut in a 3-0 defeat at Derby County and would go onto make six appearances at the Keepmoat Stadium which included a 1-0 triumph against Crystal Palace. Upon his return to Stamford Bridge, Lalkovic was then sent out for further loan spells at both ADO Den Haag and Vitoria de Guimaraes and despite then enjoying a successful period at Walsall he was released by the Premier League champions in May 2014. After stints with FK Mlada Boleslav and Barnsley, the versatile forward has netted once in 11 appearances so far this season for Walsall; helping them secure five victories including a 2-0 success against Donny last month.
Doncaster’s last five at home: (LWWDD)
Doncaster Rovers 1-4 Ipswich Town
Doncaster Rovers 2-0 Fleetwood Town
Doncaster Rovers 0-0 Burton Albion (Doncaster won on penalties)
Doncaster Rovers 1-1 Oldham Athletic
Doncaster Rovers 2-2 Swindon Town
Barnsley’s last five away from home: (WWLWD)
Scunthorpe United 1-1 Barnsley (Barnsley won on penalties)
Millwall 2-3 Barnsley
Rochdale 3-0 Barnsley
Scunthorpe United 1-2 Barnsley
Blackpool 1-1 Barnsley
Going to the match?
Doncaster Rovers plays at the Keepmoat Stadium, its address is as follows:
How to get there
From the A1(M) join M18 Eastbound at Junction 35 (signposted Hull), or from the M1 join the M18 Eastbound at Junction 32. Once on the M18, leave at Junction 3 and take the A6182 towards Doncaster (the stadium is well signposted from Junction 3 and is about one and a half miles away). You will pass a retail park on your left and then at the next island (which has the Lakeside Pub visible behind it) turn left onto White Rose Way. The Lakeside Shopping Centre is now on your right (the stadium is located directly behind the shopping centre). At the next island turn right into the industrial estate, and after passing the Tesco distribution centre on your right, turn right at the bottom of the road and the stadium is further down on your left.
Keepmoat Stadium has 1,000 parking spaces and therefore parking at the stadium on a match day can sometimes be difficult. A range of local businesses offer parking facilities around the stadium, however the club advise if you park with a third party you do so at your own risk. Keepmoat Stadium also has several disabled parking spaces available but advise that these are limited in number, we therefore suggest that you phone in advance on 01302 762576 to discuss your parking arrangements.
Parking at the stadium is £5 per vehicle on a match day.
By Bus or Train:
Keepmoat Stadium has excellent public transport links and there are several park and ride facilities in Doncaster that use the stadium. Regular buses are available from Doncaster town centre to the stadium both before and after the game.
Doncaster Station is just under two miles away so you are probably best taking the bus or a taxi to the ground. If you fancy the long walk (around 25-30 minutes) then as you come out of the station turn right and then keep straight on this road (the A 6182 Trafford Way) and you will eventually reach the stadium complex on your left.
Tickets are are priced as follows:
Senior (Over 60): £14
Young Adult (17-21): £10
Under 17: £5
.Under 12: £1 (applicable when purchased with an Adult or Senior ticket)
The Official Club coaches depart Oakwell at 12:45pm on matchday and is priced at £13 per seat.
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