Barnsley will be targeting a sixth league win in a row for the first time in nearly a year when they travel to Swindon this weekend.
Tuesday night’s derby win at Bradford saw Lee Johnson’s side pick up their fifth successive victory and another triumph on Saturday would extend that run to six for the first time since last March.
The Club’s current record has seen them climb up to 13th place in League One and with only seven points separating the Reds and the play-off places, Johnson’s men will be eager to earn a fourth consecutive away league win this weekend and a third consecutive away clean sheet.
Hosts Swindon also go into the game in decent form following a three-match unbeaten run which leaves them sitting in 15th place and just a point below Barnsley.
Back-to-back home wins against Southend and Crewe were followed up by a 1-1 draw at Sheffield United last weekend; meaning the Robins have now lost only two of their last nine league games.
The Wiltshire-based outfit also boast a fine home record in recent months, with five wins from their last seven in the league at the County Ground including their last two.
Barnsley will be eager to build on September’s impressive 4-1 victory against Swindon when they travel to the County Ground this weekend.
The win – which was the Reds’ third in their last five games against the Robins – came after Lee Johnson’s side fought back from a goal down at Oakwell.
It also ended a two-match losing streak for the Club against Swindon following the Wiltshire-based side’s double over the Reds last season.
The Robins completed that duo of victories with a 2-0 home success in February which inflicted a third defeat in five games on Barnsley at the County Ground.
Despite that, the Reds’ triumph earlier this season secured their 17th win in this fixture and with Swindon also on 17 victories, as well as 17 draws between the two sides, it is all to play for on Saturday afternoon.
Barnsley are without Captain Alfie Mawson for the trip to Swindon this weekend.
The centre-half was withdrawn just 19 minutes into the Reds’ win at Bradford on Tuesday night and was replaced by Marc Roberts at the Coral Windows Stadium.
Former Halifax man Roberts could feature once again alongside Kevin Long, who plays the final match of his loan switch from Burnley.
The Reds are also without star winger Adam Hammill after the former Liverpool man missed the win at Bradford due to an injury picked up against Rochdale last weekend.
On loan Manchester United forward Ashley Fletcher started in Hammill’s absence at the Coral Windows Stadium and he could be included from the off once again if Hammill fails to prove his fitness.
Elsewhere, Josh Scowen will look to get more minutes under his belt after making another cameo off the bench against the Bantams.
For hosts Swindon on loan midfielder Michael Doughty could make his home debut for the Robins after joining from QPR two weeks ago.
Fellow midfielder Drissa Traore will also be pushing for a starting berth at the County Ground, while former Tyke Michael Smith will also be hoping for some game time against his former Club.
Man in the Middle
Tim Robinson will take charge of a Barnsley game for the first time in his career when the Reds travel to Swindon this weekend. Despite spending the past three seasons officiating in the Football League the West Sussex-based official has never been assigned to run the rule over the Reds.
Swindon however have met with Robinson on five occasions; winning three and losing two. The most recent of those clashes came last season when the referee watched over the Robins three times. In September 2014 he oversaw their 2-1 win at Newport in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, before also taking charge of the Wiltshire-based outfit’s 2-1 success at Leyton Orient just 11 days later. It was not all good news for the Robins in Robinson’s company last season however, with the official also watching over Swindon’s 3-0 home defeat against Gillingham in early March.
Seven yellow cards were shown in that game but so far this term Robinson has brandished 95 yellows as well as four reds in 25 games. Half of those red cards were shown in just one match earlier this month when the official dismissed Yeovil’s Alex Lacey and Carlisle’s Luke Joyce as the two sides fiercely contested an FA Cup replay at Huish Park.
Their Star Man
Following his release by Leeds United in early September, Nicky Ajose – who bagged eight goals in 27 appearances while on loan at Crewe last season – was snapped up by Swindon on a three-year deal. His abilities shone through during
his brief spell with the Railwaymen and despite only featuring on four occasions for Leeds, the Robins acted quickly to sign a player who spent time on loan with them in the first half of the 2013-14 campaign; notching 10 times while at the Club from Peterborough.
So far this term however and Ajose has taken his form to a new level, hitting 14 goals in 24 games including four in his last three outings. Three days after signing for the Robins, the ex-Manchester United trainee struck a debut goal against former Club Crewe, but despite that he then managed only one goal in his next eight appearances.
Ajose rediscovered his goal scoring boots however, finding the back of the net eight times in 10 games between October and late December including a brace in Swindon’s 4-0 win at Chesterfield. Back-to-back doubles against Southend and Crewe, once again, since the turn of the year has seen the 24-year-old’s tally rise to 14 which makes it his best career season to date but with more yet to come from the former England youth international defences up and down the division will need to be on their toes if they are to prevent him from reaching the 20-goal mark this term.
Following their promotion to the Premier League after a thrilling play-off final win against Leicester, Swindon completed the signing of highly rated Norwegian forward Jan Aage Fjortoft during the summer of 1993. At the age of 26 the former Lillestrom and Rapid Vienna man was unable to prevent the Robins from immediate relegation back to the second tier but he did find the back of the net 15 times in his maiden season in England.
The striker followed up that return with 25 goals in 48 appearances in division one but unfortunately for Swindon that form did not go unnoticed and in March 1995 he completed a switch to Middlesbrough. A year-and-a-half back in the top flight saw Fjortoft bag 13 goals in 50 outings for Boro but in January 1997 he was on the move again; this time joining Sheffield United.
A year at Bramall Lane saw the Norwegian bag a highly impressive 23 times in 42 games, which was enough for Barnsley to open their cheque book to acquire the prolific front man’s services in January 1998 as the Reds targeted Premier League safety. Fjortoft began life at Oakwell with a run of six goals in 11 matches which included a brace at home to Wimbledon and a winner against Sheffield Wednesday. Despite the positive impact brought on by Fjortoft’s arrival, the Reds were relegated at the end of the campaign which meant another season back in division one for the Gursken-born striker.
The ex-Norway international added another seven goals to his Barnsley tally as the Club settled back into life in the second tier including the all-important second goal in a 2-1 win against Bournemouth in late October. That strike however, would prove to be Fjortoft’s final goal in a Barnsley shirt and in November 1998 he penned a deal with German side Eintracht Frankfurt.
A three-year spell in Germany saw the former Tyke become a cult hero at the Commerzbank-Arena but following spells back in his native Norway with Stabaek and then Lillestrom he opted to hang up his boots in 2002 at the age of 35.
Swindon’s last five at home: (WWLWW)
Swindon Town 2-1 Walsall
Swindon Town 2-1 Rochdale
Swindon Town 1-3 Gillingham
Swindon Town 4-2 Southend United
Swindon Town 4-3 Crewe Alexandra
Barnsley’s last five away from home: (LWWWW)
Peterborough United 3-2 Barnsley
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
Going to the match?
Swindon Town plays at the County Ground, its address is as follows:
The County Ground, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN1 2ED
How to get there
Travelling from the East and West - Leave the M4 at Junction 15. Take the Commonhead Roundabout. Turn left onto the A4259 Marlborough Road. Take the 2nd exit at the roundabout onto Queens Drive. At the next set of roundabouts take the 3rd exit onto County Road the entrance to the ground is on the first right.
Travelling from the Midlands - Take the M40 to Junction 9. Then take the A43, A34 and then the A420 into Swindon. At Drakes' Roundabout turn onto Queen's Drive. At the next set of roundabouts take 3rd exit onto County Road, the entrance to the stadium is the first right.
There are limited spaces available at the County Ground, but there are several Town centre car parks situated 1/2 mile from the stadium. There is parking available for supporters both home and away within the stadium complex priced at £10. There are 12 allocated Disabled bays.
Please call the Operations Manager on 0844 880 1099 if you would like to reserve a space.
There is also parking at St Joseph's School behind the Ground on Ocotal Way. Parking at the school costs £5.
From the front of the station turn left onto Station Road. Facing the White House pub, head right onto Corporation Street.
At the traffic lights turn left onto Manchester Road. At the end of Manchester Road turn right onto County Road. The entrance to the stadium is the second left. This walk should take approx 10 minutes.
Tickets for our upcoming away game against Swindon Town are now on general sale from the Reds Superstore / Box Office. Tickets are priced as follows:
Over 65: £19
Full Time Student with NUS: £19 (advance purchase only, student tickets not available on the day of the game)
Young Adult (17-19): £12 (must be in possession of proof of age)
Under 17: £8
Under 11: £2 (when purchased with an adult ticket)
Swindon Town tickets are available from the Reds Superstore / BFC Box Office up until 4pm on Friday 29th January.
The Official Club coaches depart Oakwell at 9.30am on the day of the game and seats are priced at £27.