Barnsley will be hoping to reach a Wembley final for the first time in nearly 16 years when they travel to Fleetwood on Thursday night for the second leg of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Area final.
The Club’s last appearance under the arch came in 2000, as the Reds lost out to Ipswich in what was the last play-off final to be staged at the old Wembley.
With that in mind Lee Johnson’s side will be going all out for victory in their bid to reach the final and with the Reds currently unbeaten in their last seven matches in all competitions including six wins and one draw they will face the Cod Army in confident mood.
Away from Oakwell Barnsley have also won their last five on the bounce and with the scores level from the first leg Johnson’s men will be desperate to make that six wins on Thursday evening.
Hosts Fleetwood will also be doing all they can to reach the Wembley showpiece but without a win in their last four games they will be eager for a big performance against the Reds.
Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Bradford means Fleetwood have now won just one of their last eight games in all competitions going into the second leg.
In front of their home faithful however, the Cod Army have won five out of their last seven and Steven Pressley’s side will be hoping to use that to their advantage come Thursday night.
Barnsley’s first ever victory against Fleetwood could not come at a better time as they prepare to take on the Cod Army for a place in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final.
In the four meetings between the Clubs so far, the Reds have drawn two and lost two following their first ever meeting in September 2014.
On that occasion it ended 0-0 between the two sides at Highbury, while back in South Yorkshire and the Cod Army secured a 2-1 success after fighting back from a goal down.
In October the Clubs met again at Oakwell in League One but it was the same story as Jamie Proctor’s first-half strike earned the Cod Army a second successive triumph against the Reds.
Just under a month ago and the Fylde Coast outfit extended that unbeaten run to four games following the 1-1 first leg draw at Oakwell, but with the Reds eager to reach Wembley they will be doing all they can to end that record on Thursday night.
Winger Adam Hammill will be desperate to prove his fitness ahead of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final second leg tie at Fleetwood.
The former Liverpool man missed Saturday’s win at Swindon due to injury but will be doing all he can to be fit.
Elsewhere, Jak McCourt is cup tied and will have to wait to make his first appearance for the Club after joining from Leicester last week, while Josh Scowen is pushing for his first start for the Reds since November.
Fleetwood boss Steven Pressley will have a big decision to make over his forward line for the visit of Barnsley.
Recent signings Alex Kiwomya and Devante Cole have added to the already talented forward line at the Highbury Stadium and Pressley will have to choose wisely against the Reds, although Cole is cup-tied and cannot face the Reds.
One man who will not feature in attack for the Cod Army however is David Ball, with the former Manchester City youngster still out with a hamstring problem.
Man in the Middle
Barnsley will be looking to make it six matches unbeaten in the company of referee Eddie Ilderton on Thursday night. The Reds have drawn three and won two of their last five games when Ilderton has been at the helm, with two of those matches coming last year.
In March the Tyne & Wear-based official watched over Barnsley’s 1-1 home draw against Preston, while in August this season the Reds picked up a goalless draw against Yorkshire rivals Bradford at Oakwell. Those draws are two of five secured by the Tykes in total when Ilderton has been the man in the middle, with four wins and just one defeat also coming the Club’s way.
Fleetwood meanwhile after never won in the company of Ilderton; losing two and drawing once. The most recent of those meetings came in October but it was an unhappy afternoon for the Cod Army with the Fylde Coast-based side going down to a 3-0 defeat against Sheffield United in South Yorkshire.
Ilderton showed just one yellow card in that clash but so far this season he has brandished 39 in total, as well as two reds in 18 games. The second of those red cards came last month as the North East-based official dismissed Bolton goalkeeper Ben Amos just 11 minutes into the Club’s 3-0 loss at Nottingham Forest.
Their Star Man
Four years ago explosive winger Bobby Grant lit up League Two with 16 goals in 38 games following his transfer from Scunthorpe to Rochdale for an undisclosed fee. That form saw the wide man earn a switch to the then Championship side Blackpool but after two years at Bloomfied Road, Grant made just seven appearances for the Club.
The Liverpudlian’s spell with the Seasiders also included a brief loan move to Fleetwood – where he made just one appearance – as well as a year-long stay at Shrewsbury where he bagged six goals in 36 outings last season.
Despite not reaching the levels that he did in the 2012-13 campaign with Rochdale, that form was enough to see Fleetwood secure Grant’s signature on a permanent two-year deal in May. The ex-Accrington Stanley man’s career at Highbury got off to a slow start but after netting in his eighth appearance for the Club in a 2-1 home defeat to Port Vale he has not looked back.
The tricky winger bagged four goals in five matches following that strike against the Valiants and with eight in 29 games so far this term he is on his way to rediscovering the kind of form which he displayed while at Rochdale. The 25-year-old has struck three in his last 11 games despite Fleetwood’s inconsistent form and with all three of them arriving in victories for the Cod Army, Grant has become a vital cog in Stephen Pressley’s side at Highbury.
He may have made a name for himself during spells at Tranmere, Leicester and Preston North End but striker Iain Hume also counts both Barnsley and Fleetwood amongst his eight career Clubs so far. It was following nine highly successful years at Tranmere and then Leicester that Hume penned a deal with Barnsley; joining the Reds for a fee in the region of £1.2million in June 2008.
The Scotland-born Canadian international’s Barnsley career got off to a flying start with a debut goal against QPR. Despite that Hume was then sent off on his first Oakwell appearance for the Club after receiving two yellow cards as the Reds went down 2-1 against Coventry. Upon his return from suspension the dynamic forward bagged his second goal for the Reds, which was one of just four he scored in total during his first campaign with the Club.
That was because Hume’s season was cut short in November 2008 after he received life threatening injuries following a challenge in Barnsley’s game against South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United. After a long lay-off Hume returned to action during pre-season ahead of the 2009-10 season and he scored another five goals in 37 games for the Reds including a brace in a 2-2 home draw against Peterborough.
Those two goals proved to be Hume’s final strikes in a Barnsley shirt however and in September 2010 he crossed the Pennines to join Preston where he notched 24 goals in 80 appearances during his four-and-a-half years at Deepdale. The 32-year-old also spent two loan spells away from the Lilywhites, one of which saw him join Fleetwood in March 2014.
During his time at Highbury, the tricky front man scored one goal in 11 games, with his solo strike rescuing a late point for the Cod Army against Lancashire rivals Morecambe. Despite only netting once for the Club Hume was part of a historic moment on the Fylde-Coast; playing 86 minutes at Wembley as Fleetwood beat Burton Albion 1-0 to earn promotion to League One.
The former Tyke then spent time in India with Kerala Blasters but in January 2015 he returned to England and to former Club Tranmere. After 11 goalless games at Prenton Park he penned a deal to move back to India however; signing with Atletico de Kolkata in July.
Fleetwood’s last five at home: (WWLWD)
Fleetwood Town 2-1 Millwall
Fleetwood Town 2-0 Morecambe (JPT)
Fleetwood Town 1-3 Wigan Athletic
Fleetwood Town 2-0 Bury
Fleetwood Town 0-0 Doncaster Rovers
Barnsley’s last five away from home: (WWWWW)
Wigan Athletic 2-2 Barnsley (Barnsley won on penalties; JPT)
Colchester United 2-3 Barnsley
Shrewsbury Town 0-3 Barnsley
Bradford City 0-1 Barnsley
Swindon Town 0-1 Barnsley
Going to the match?
Fleetwood Town plays at Highbury, its address is as follows:
How to get there
Exit the M6 at Junction 32 and take the M55 towards Blackpool. Then leave the M55 at Junction 3 and take the A585 towards Fleetwood. On the outskirts of the town you will come to a roundabout with Blackpool and Fylde College on your left. Continue straight on towards Fleetwood but after the roundabout take the first left into Copse Road. After about a mile as you pass Fleetwood Fire station, branch left and turn left on to Radcliffe Road, as if you were going back on yourself. Then take the next right on to Stanley Road and the stadium is at the bottom of this road on the left. There are a limited number of parking spaces available at the ground but street parking is permitted on the surrounding roads.
The most convenient mainline station is Blackpool North. The station is 7½ miles from the football ground so you’ll need to use one of the options below to complete your journey.
The No14 and No 1 buses leaves Blackpool town centre every 10 minutes and passes close to the ground. Journey time is about 30 minutes and the fare £2.
Leave the train station, turn right and head for the sea. Trams run north to Fleetwood, passing close to the ground, every 20 minutes and costing £2.50. Journey time is approximately 40 minutes.
A black cab, holding up to six people, will take you from Blackpool Station to the ground for about £18. Journey time about 25 minutes.
We would like to advise supporters that our 1341 allocation of tickets for the upcoming JPT Area Final Second Leg against Fleetwood Town on Thursday 4th February has now SOLD OUT.