Barnsley v Derby County
The Reds will be eager to bounce back from last weekend’s opening day defeat at Ipswich when they host Derby County at Oakwell.
Goals from Conor Hourihane and Marley Watkins came in vain as Paul Heckingbottom’s side went down to a 4-2 loss at Portman Road.
Despite that however the Tykes will be looking to turn Oakwell – where they won 15 out of 29 games last term - into a fortress again this season.
Visitors Derby, meanwhile, will be pushing for their first goals of the Championship campaign after a goalless draw against Brighton last weekend.
That game was Nigel Pearson’s first as Rams’ manager following his appointment in May on a three-year contract.
His new side did win 11 of their 26 matches on the road last season however and they will arrive at Oakwell with a point to prove.
The Reds will be looking to end a four-match winless run against the Rams.
In the 2012-13 campaign goals from James O’Connor and Nathan Tyson earned Derby all three points in front of their own faithful, while back at Oakwell it ended all square after John Brayford’s 90th minute effort cancelled out Chris O’Grady’s opener for Barnsley.
A season on and the Tykes failed once again to taste victory in this fixture, with the Derbyshire-based side completing a League double, with 2-1 wins at both Pride Park and Oakwell.
With no meetings in the past two seasons, it means Barnsley last tasted victory against The Rams back in January 2012 when goals from Matt Done, Andy Gray and Scott Wiseman earned Keith Hill’s side all three points in South Yorkshire.
That success was the Club’s 18th against the Rams, but with Derby leading the way on 29, Barnsley will be out to change that come three o’clock.
Barnsley will be without last season’s top goal scorer Sam Winnall for the clash with Derby.
The striker was withdrawn just four minutes into last weekend’s loss at Ipswich and is likely to be replaced by Marley Watkins who came on for Winnall following the injury.
Elsewhere, Angus MacDonald is available for selection again following a suspension, while George Moncur will be pushing for a start after being brought off the bench against the Tractor Boys.
Nigel Pearson will have to decide whether to recall striker Chris Martin to his League side.
Last season’s top goal scorer was introduced after 69 minutes last weekend but will be hoping to make an impact from the off, while the Rams will be looking to welcome back Marcus Olsson following a bout of concussion.
Man in the Middle
The Reds will be eager to carry on where they left off from their last meeting with referee Tony Harrington. The Cleveland-based official was the man in the middle as Paul Heckingbottom’s men won 4-1 against Wigan at the back end of last season.
That was Barnsley’s second victory in Harrington’s company following a 1-0 home success against Coventry in March 2015, while the Reds have also drawn one and lost one with the official in charge.
The visitors Derby meanwhile, will look to continue their unbeaten run in Harrington’s presence.
Last season, the Rams picked up wins against both Huddersfield and Hull with the North-East based referee in charge, while the Derbyshire-based Club defeated Bolton 4-1 in February 2015 and picked up a 1-1 draw at Blackburn a year earlier; making it four without loss for them with Harrington at the helm.
Their Star Man
He may have failed to make the breakthrough at Liverpool but Thomas Ince is more than making up for it now.
The tricky winger departed Anfield in August 2011 and following spells with Blackpool, Crystal Palace, Hull and Nottingham Forest, he joined the Rams on loan in February 2015.
The 24-year-old made the temporary switch from Hull and scored an impressive 11 goals in 18 games as Derby finished eighth and just a point outside the play-off places.
That scintillating form saw the Rams make Ince their record signing in July 2015 and despite that lasting only a matter of weeks after they beat it with the acquisition of midfielder Bradley Johnson, Ince more than repaid the faith shown in him.
The former England U21 international scored 12 goals in 46 appearances last season including a hat-trick against Bristol City, as well as strikes in wins against Reading, the MK Dons, Brentford, Ipswich, Bolton and then Bristol City again.
Ince – who has netted 23 goals in 64 games in total for Derby – also provided eight assists last season and with the wide man feeling as fit as ever following a pre-season under new manager Nigel Pearson, the Barnsley defence will have to be on their toes as he strives for even greater success this time out.
England international Jack Butland may only be 23 but the Bristol-born goalkeeper has already played for six Clubs in his short career so far.
After coming through the youth ranks at Birmingham City – which included two loan spells with Cheltenham – Butland signed for Stoke City in January 2013 for a fee in the region of £4million.
That transfer fee may now look a steal after the shot-stopper’s recent development but a major part of his great rise to prominence at the Britannia Stadium came on the back of loan moves to Barnsley, Leeds and Derby.
The 23-year-old joined the Reds in September 2013; making his debut in a difficult 2-1 defeat at Leicester City which saw him concede a penalty. It was one of 13 appearances that the England no.2 made during his short stay at Oakwell, which included keeping clean sheets against both Doncaster and Leeds.
Following that spell with the Tykes, Butland went onto make his Premier League debut for the Potters, making his first start for the Club in a 5-3 defeat against Liverpool.
Later that season however and Team GB’s ‘keeper at the 2012 Olympics made 16 appearances for Leeds as he continued to step up his progress.
With many now predicting a first team place at Stoke, Butland penned a loan switch to visitors Derby County in October 2014, for whom he made six starts; helping them win four of them.
On his return to the Britannia, the agile ‘keeper made a string of appearances as back-up to Asmir Begovic, but following the Bosnian’s transfer to Chelsea in July 2015, Butland signed a new deal with the Club and was made Stoke’s no.1 ahead of last season.
Barnsley’s last five at home in the league (LWWDW):
Barnsley 1-2 Chesterfield
Barnsley 2-1 Oldham Athletic
Barnsley 1-0 Peterborough United
Barnsley 2-2 Colchester United
Barnsley 3-0 Walsall
Derby’s last five away in the league (LWWDW):
Cardiff City 2-1 Derby County
Charlton Athletic 0-1 Derby County
Bristol City 2-3 Derby County
Brighton 1-1 Derby County
Hull City 0-2 Derby County
Tickets are still available for the match against Derby County on Saturday by clicking HERE!