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Match Previews

Match Preview: Reds Vs Birmingham City

30 December 2016

All the information needed ahead of the New Year's Eve fixture at Oakwell..

Barnsley will be looking to end 2016 in winning fashion when they welcome Birmingham to Oakwell tomorrow afternoon.
The Reds could not go into the game in better shape, having won four of their last five games including Monday’s 2-0 success against Blackburn.
That form has seen Paul Heckingbottom’s men climb to 10th place and with just six points separating the Reds and a play-off spot, they will be eager to pick up a third home win on the bounce for the first time since August. 
Birmingham meanwhile will be hoping to secure their first victory of Gianfranco Zola’s reign this afternoon.
That’s because the Blues have lost against both Brighton and Derby since the former Chelsea striker took over from Gary Rowett earlier this month.
The Club’s latest defeat against Derby on Tuesday means the West Midlands-based outfit have now lost four of their last five matches and sit just behind the Reds in 11th place ahead of tomorrow’s game.

Previous Meetings

The Reds will be hoping to avoid a fourth straight home defeat against Blues.
The West Midlands-based side have won 3-1, 2-1 and 3-0 on their last three visits to Oakwell, with Barnsley last avoiding defeat in this fixture at home back in March 2009 when Michael Mifsud struck in a 1-1 draw.
The Reds can take some confidence into the game however following their 3-0 success at St. Andrew’s earlier this month courtesy of Marc Roberts and a late Sam Winnall brace.
That was Barnsley’s 22nd triumph in this fixture but still trailing Birmingham by 15 wins, they will be targeting a first home success since 2007 against Blues today. 

Team News

Barnsley could name an unchanged line-up for the sixth game in a row this afternoon.
The same Reds XI has picked up four wins from the last five and Paul Heckingbottom will be tempted to stick with that side against Blues.
Adam Hammill will not be involved once again as he serves the final game of his three-match ban but Aidy White could return to the squad after a long term gluteal injury.
For Birmingham, new boss Gianfranco Zola may be tempted to make changes as he continues to look for his perfect starting XI.
Both Che Adams and Diego Fabbrini will be pushing for starts after coming on as substitutes against Derby on Tuesday, while Paul Caddis could return after three months on the sidelines with a dislocated shoulder.
One man who is unlikely to be involved however, is striker Clayton Donaldson who is suffering with a calf problem.

Man in the Middle

Scott Duncan will take charge of a Barnsley game for the first time this season. The Northumberland-based official has watched over the Reds on three previous occasions however, with two defeats and just one win coming the Club’s way.
Those losses came against Southampton and Walsall but the Reds did actually secure all three points in their last meeting with Duncan and that came in March when Conor Hourihane’s early free-kick secured a 1-0 success at Port Vale.
Birmingham meanwhile remain unbeaten in the company of this afternoon’s referee. In total the official has watched over one Blues draw as well as three victories, the most recent of which was earlier this season when they edged past Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at St. Andrew’s.
That is one of 19 games which Duncan has officiated this term, handing out 58 yellow cards and five reds so far, two of which were shown to Preston team mates Eoin Doyle and Jermaine Beckford after they came to blows in North End’s 2-1 defeat at Hillsborough earlier this month.

Their Star Man

When it comes to Birmingham’s focal point this season you cannot look past giant forward Lukas Jutkiewicz. 
Despite not scoring during a two-year spell at Burnley, the former Everton youngster has become an instant hit at St Andrews, bagging six times in 21 appearances so far.
Not only that, four of his strikes have come in positive results for the Blues including a 90th minute winner against Sheffield Wednesday on his home debut, as well as an equaliser away at Huddersfield last month.
That form saw Birmingham part with £1million just over a week ago, as they turned the Southampton born front man’s loan move from Turf Moor into a permanent one.
That deal officially goes through on Tuesday but with Jutkiewicz’s future now secured until 2020, new boss Gianfranco Zola can start to build his team around a centre forward who is certainly looking to make up for lost time.

Mutual Man

Football fans from any Club feel an extra sense of pride when ‘one of their own’ makes it in the first team and the Barnsley faithful were no different when Nicky Eaden pulled on the Reds shirt for the first time.
That debut would turn out to be the first of 342 appearances which the full-back made for the Reds, scoring 13 goals in the process.
Eaden’s proudest achievement in Barnsley colours came in the 1996/97 season when he helped the Club win promotion to the Premier League for the first time in our history.
The versatile full-back – who also played on the right-wing – was named in the PFA Team of the Year in that campaign, before making 35 appearances in the top flight.
Despite suffering relegation immediately back to Division One, Eaden continued to be a regular over the next two seasons, the second of which saw him captain the side to the first division play-off final which the Reds ultimately lost 4-2 against Ipswich.
That would prove to be his final game for the Club and in July 2000 he joined today’s visitors Birmingham City on a free transfer.
The 44-year-old appeared 90 times for the West Midland-based outfit, bagging five times over two seasons at St. Andrew’s.
Eaden’s time with the Blues included a League Cup final defeat against Liverpool, a Division One play-off semi-final loss against Preston and although he missed the final month or so of the 2001-02 season, he appeared 32 times as Birmingham returned to the top flight for the first time since 1986.
After spending two years with the Blues, the former Red went on to enjoy spells with Wigan, Nottingham Forest and Lincoln before a period in non-league with Halesowen Town, Solihull Motors and Kettering.
Since hanging up his boots Eaden has remained in football and in July he was appointed as Senior Professional Development coach at Coventry City.

Form Guide

Barnsley’s last five at home: (DDLWW)

Barnsley 2-2 Bristol City (29/10/2016)
Barnsley 0-0 Wigan Athletic (19/11/2016)
Barnsley 2-5 Nottingham Forest (25/11/2016)
Barnsley 2-1 Norwich City (10/12/2016)
Barnsley 2-0 Blackburn Rovers (26/12/2016)

Birmingham’s last five away from home: (LDWLL)

Burton Albion 2-0 Birmingham City (21/10/2016)
Huddersfield Town 1-1 Birmingham City (5/11/2016)
Brentford 1-2 Birmingham City (26/11/2016)
Newcastle United 4-0 Birmingham City (10/12/2016)
Derby County 1-0 Birmingham City (27/12/2016)


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