Barnsley will be looking for their third straight league win for the first time this season when they travel to Shrewsbury on Saturday.
Victories against Blackpool and Millwall have seen the Reds climb out of the relegation zone, with Lee Johnson’s side now sitting two points and three places above the bottom four.
Following the Club’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final first leg draw against Fleetwood, the Reds have now only lost one of their last seven games in all competitions and with two wins in their last three away League One outings they travel to Greenhous Meadow full of confidence.
The Shrews meanwhile, will also go into the clash in buoyant mood following their FA Cup giant killing of Championship side Cardiff City last weekend.
A second-half header from new signing Andy Mangan was enough to defeat the Welsh side but Micky Mellon’s side will be hoping they can rediscover that kind of performance against the Reds on Saturday.
That is because the Shrews sit just one place above the League One drop zone after winning just one of their last seven league matches.
That run – which has included three draws and three losses – saw them go down to a 7-1 reverse at Chesterfield in their last league outing and without a home league win since late October, Mellon’s men will be desperate for a repeat of their Cardiff display come Saturday.
Barnsley will be hoping for revenge when they travel to Shropshire to face Shrewsbury this weekend.
Back in September the two Clubs met for the first time in over 26 years and it was a disappointing reunion for the Reds after a 90th minute deflected strike from Barnsley-born Jordan Clark earned a 2-1 win for the travelling Shrews.
That defeat ended Barnsley’s five-match unbeaten run against the Shropshire-based side which saw the Reds secure four victories and one draw between 1987 and 1989.
Three of those triumphs came at Oakwell but with the Club also securing a narrow 3-2 win at Greenhous Meadow on their last visit to Shropshire during that successful run, they will be looking to make it two victories on the bounce in Shrewsbury on Saturday.
Brad Abbott will be pushing for his second start in seven days after impressing against Fleetwood last weekend, although new loan signing Josh Brownhill will be hopeful of a start in central-midfield.
Twenty-one-year-old Abbott replaced the departing Ben Pearson for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy clash and put in a dominant performance alongside Conor Hourihane in the centre of the park.
Another player pushing to be included in Lee Johnson’s starting XI will be on-loan Manchester United forward Ashley Fletcher, with the front man bagging just five minutes into his Barnsley debut against Fleetwood after being introduced as a second-half substitute.
Ryan Williams was the man to make way for Fletcher last weekend and with the Australian winger making only his first start since September against the Cod Army, two games in a week could come too soon for the ex-Fulham man.
Marley Watkins will be unavailable for the second game in a row due to an ankle problem while Josh Scowen is set to return at the end of January after missing the last three months of action.
Hosts Shrewsbury could hand debuts to three players following a busy few weeks in the transfer window.
Midfielders James Wallace and Richie Wellens, as well as forward Kyle Vassell will all be pushing for starts after arriving at Greenhous Meadow.
They could join fellow new signings Jack Grimmer and Andy Mangan in the Shrewsbury squad, with both players re-joining Mellon’s side after spells with the Club last season.
Elsewhere winger Junior Brown returns from suspension to feature against the Reds, but defender Obu Ogogo remains a doubt.
Man in the Middle
Philip Gibbs will take charge of a Barnsley game for the first time in nearly two-and-a-half years on Saturday. The official watched over the Reds as they went down to a 2-1 defeat at Leicester back in September 2013 which is just one of three defeats suffered by the Club in his company. Three draws and two victories have also come the Reds way when Gibbs has been at the helm but you have to go back to November 2011 for their most recent triumph with him as the man in the middle; when they edged Hull City 2-1 at Oakwell.
Shrewsbury meanwhile, have fared slightly better with Gibbs in charge; winning two, drawing three but losing only once in his company. That sole loss did come in their last meeting with the West Midlands-based official however, with the Shrews suffering a 1-0 home defeat against Wolves in September 2013.
Gibbs – who will be assisted by linesmen Simon Barrow and Michael Hanley on Saturday - dismissed Shrewsbury midfielder Jon Taylor in that game; with the resulting spot-kick earning all three points for Wolves. That red remains the only one brandished in a game involving Barnsley or Shrewsbury but so far this season Gibbs has reached for his back pocket twice; sending off Oxford’s John Mullins in early November, as well as Bradford defender Nathan Clarke earlier this month.
Their Star Man
Earlier this month Shrewsbury extended Larnell Cole’s loan spell at Greenhous Meadow until the end of the season from Fulham. Signed in September – originally until January – the former Manchester United youngster has been the brightest spark in a disappointing campaign so far for the Shrews. It was against Barnsley that the midfielder made his debut for Shrewsbury; introduced as a first half substitute at Oakwell in place of the injured James Wesolowski.
Since that clash, Cole – who ended last season on loan in League One with the MK Dons – has made 19 appearances for the Shrews; 16 of which have been starts. Despite his pace and trickery the 22-year-old had struggled in front of goal for Micky Mellon’s side, but in early December he bagged his first goal for the Club, albeit in a 3-1 home defeat against Walsall. Just 27 days later and the on-loan Fulham man struck in much happier circumstances, as his 11th minute strike helped the Shrews on their way to a 2-1 triumph at Crewe.
They remain Cole’s only goals in a Shrewsbury Town shirt but with four assists to his name this term, the powerful wide man’s creative influence has been and will be vital in the coming weeks and months as the Shrews aim to climb the League One ladder.
Despite being born in Scotland, it is Yorkshire that midfielder Martin Woods has spent the majority of his career. It all began in Leeds back in 2003 when the former Scotland U21 international progressed through the Elland Road academy. The Airdrie-born midfield man would make only one appearance for the Whites however and after a loan spell with Hartlepool he joined Sunderland on a permanent deal in July 2005.
A season in the North East was followed by campaigns back in Yorkshire with Rotherham and then Doncaster, with Woods spending six-and-a-half years with Donny which saw him score 10 goals in 136 appearances. A brief loan spell at Yeovil also came his way during that stint at the Keepmoat Stadium but in January 2014 Woods joined the fourth Yorkshire-based Club of his career and this time it was Barnsley.
The energetic midfielder made his Reds bow in a 2-2 home draw against Ipswich, which was one of just eight appearances made by Woods for the Club. Despite only spending a brief spell at Oakwell he did help the Reds pick up two draws and two wins; one of which came against his former employers Yeovil as Barnsley secured an impressive 4-1 victory at Huish Park. Unfortunately for the Scotsman his time with the Club ended in a 1-0 home defeat against Burnley but after making six starts in a Reds shirt it was a happy stint for the midfielder back in South Yorkshire.
Despite that, he opted to return to his homeland following that spell with the Reds; joining Ross County in October 2014. After an impressive campaign in which he scored two goals, Woods moved south of the border once again in May; penning a two-year deal with Saturday’s hosts Shrewsbury. Five games into his Shrews career however – which included a 2-1 Capital One Cup success at Blackburn – and Woods had his contract terminated by mutual consent due to family issues, just three months after arriving at Greenhous Meadow. Following his departure the recently turned 30-year-old completed a return to Ross County, where he has played a pivotal part in the Club’s push for a European place.
Shrewsbury’s last five at home: (DLWLD)
Shrewsbury Town 2-2 Gillingham
Shrewsbury Town 1-2 Walsall
Shrewsbury Town 1-0 Grimsby Town (FA Cup)
Shrewsbury Town 0-1 Swindon Town
Shrewsbury Town 1-1 Fleetwood Town
Barnsley’s last five away from home: (LWLWW)
Altrincham 1-0 Barnsley (FA Cup)
Oldham Athletic 1-2 Barnsley
Peterborough United 3-2 Barnsley
Wigan Athletic 2-2 Barnsley (Barnsley won on penalties)
Colchester United 2-3 Barnsley
Going to the match?
Shrewsbury Town play at Greenhous Meadow, its address is as follows:
How to get there
At the end of the M54 continue onto the A5. After about seven miles, there is a traffic island which is at the junction with the A49. Bear left at this island still following the A5. At the next roundabout take the 3rd exit onto the B4380 (Thieves Lane). Continue along Thieves Lane going straight over two roundabouts and this will lead you into Oteley Road. You will reach the stadium down further down Oteley Road on the left.
There is a large car park at the stadium, holding almost 700 cars, however, this is for permit holders only. Parking is prohibited in the nearby Retail Park and nearby streets, so to find some street parking you may have to drive a bit further away. Check though for any parking restrictions detailed on posts, before parking up. Otherwise there is a car park at the Meole Brace Bowling Club, which also offers parking at £5 per car and has a bar on site too. It can be found at Meole Rise (Off Upper Road, SY3 9JF).
Shrewsbury railway station is just over two miles away from the stadium, so if you do decide to walk it is going to take around 40 minutes. Otherwise you can grab a taxi up to the ground. Alternatively you can catch the Meole Brace Park & Ride service (operated by Arriva) from the station which takes you to the Meole Brace Retail Park, which is close to the stadium. Services on Saturday afternoons run every ten minutes and the cost of a ticket is £1. Shrewsbury train station is served by trains from Birmingham New Street, Manchester Piccadilly, Crewe and Newport (Gwent).
Tickets are priced as follows:
Senior Over 65 £15
Student (with valid NUS card) £15
Young Adult (16-18 years old) £14
Juvenile (under 16 years old) £10
Juvenile (11 years old and under) £8
The Official Club coaches will depart Oakwell at 10.30am on the day of the game and is priced at £16 per seat.