Barnsley will be hoping for an immediate return to winning ways when they travel to Fleetwood this weekend.
Last Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat against Southend ended the Club’s run of six straight league wins at Oakwell and also halted the Reds’ five-match unbeaten run in the League.
The loss – which was a first at Oakwell since mid-December – saw Barnsley drop out of the play-off places but despite that, Paul Heckingbottom’s side remain just three points outside the top six and with six wins from their last eight away games the Reds will travel to the Fylde Coast in determined mood.
Saturday’s hosts Fleetwood go into the game without a victory in their last three outings which has seen them drop to 19th place and only three points above the League One drop zone.
The Lancashire Club did secure back-to-back triumphs before their current run but despite that, defeats against Burton Albion and Walsall already this week mean the Cod Army have now only won four of their last 17 league games.
Three of those four victories have come on home soil however and with Steven Pressley’s side desperate for the three points this weekend they can be buoyed by the fact that they have secured 12 points from the last 21 available at Highbury.
Saturday afternoon’s game will see Barnsley and Fleetwood meet for the fourth time this season.
Two of those clashes came in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Area final, with both legs ending 1-1 before the Reds progressed to Wembley with a 4-2 shoot-out success at Highbury.
Those memorable matches came following September’s League One fixture between the two Clubs, which saw the Cod Army extend their unbeaten league record against Barnsley to three games with a 1-0 win at Oakwell.
Fleetwood’s mini-run against the Reds began last season following a goalless draw between the sides at Highbury, before Liam McAlinden struck the winner as the Cod Army picked up their first ever win in this fixture in February last year.
Barnsley may recall top goal scorer Sam Winnall for the trip to Fleetwood this weekend.
The 25-year-old missed the Club’s 3-1 win at Walsall two weeks ago and was introduced only as a second-half substitute against Southend last Saturday following an ankle problem.
If Winnall does prove his fitness, caretaker Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom may opt to rest either Ashley Fletcher or Marley Watkins, while Josh Scowen will be pushing for a start if the Reds do decide to freshen things up after last weekend’s defeat.
Two players who are not yet ready to return are full-backs James Bree and Aidy White, so Callum Connolly and George Williams should continue to deputise. Lloyd Isgrove meanwhile should be back in the fold following a bout of illness.
For hosts Fleetwood, leading scorer Bobby Grant serves the second game of a three-match ban following his sending off against Burton a week ago.
In his place boss Steven Pressley has an abundance of options including former Tyke Devante Cole and ex-Premier League striker Shola Ameobi, who will be hoping for a recall after dropping to the bench on Tuesday night.
Wes Burns, David Ball and Ashley Hunter will all be hoping Pressley continues with them as his attacking players however, with the trio starting the Cod Army’s defeat against Walsall in midweek.
One man who did not feature in that game was Antoni Sarcevic and the former Chester playmaker is unlikely to return due to a groin problem, while Nathan Pond (thigh) and Danny Andrew (knee) also remain on the treatment table.
Man in the Middle
Kevin Wright will take charge of his first Barnsley game of the season this weekend. The Cambridgeshire-based official has taken control of eight Barnsley games in the past however, with the Reds winning three, drawing one and losing four.
Two of those games came last season, with a 1-0 Barnsley triumph at Rochdale in October 2014 before a 1-0 derby defeat for the Reds at Doncaster last January. That game also witnessed a red card for Tykes defender Mason Holgate, which was one of five brandished by Wright last term.
So far this season and the experienced referee has shown red five times once again, as well as 91 yellows in 29 games. Eight of those yellow cards have come in games involving Fleetwood, with Wright taking charge of the Cod Army’s 2-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy success against Shrewsbury in October, as well as their League One defeat at Bradford in late January.
That loss was Fleetwood’s first in Wright’s company, with the Cod Army securing victories against York and Bristol Rovers in the 2013-14 campaign.
Their Star Man
February saw Fleetwood complete deals for two very different forwards. First it was former Premier League front man Shola Ameobi but just four days later and the Cod Army agreed a youth loan deal to secure the services of Bristol City attacker Wes Burns until early May.
Despite making over 200 appearances for Newcastle, Nigerian Ameobi has been outshone by 21-year-old Burns, who received his first call-up to the Wales’ senior squad in October. That accolade came the forward’s way after making just a handful of substitute appearances for parent Club City but after scoring in his first start of the campaign in mid-January the Cardiff-born striker’s stock really began to rise.
The ex-Forest Green, Oxford and Cheltenham loanee went onto start the Robins’ next two games but despite that he was allowed to join Saturday’s hosts Fleetwood on a short-term basis. After familiarising himself with his new team mates in games against Scunthorpe and Rochdale, Burns has burst onto the scene in recent weeks with three goals in his last five games.
His first for the Club came in a 2-1 success at Coventry and just three days later he was on the score sheet again; this time netting and assisting in a victory at home to promotion-chasers Gillingham. Burns then played all 90 minutes as the Cod Army were unlucky not to beat Sheffield United, before the young forward struck his third goal in four games last Saturday.
That match would ultimately end in a loss for Steven Pressley’s men against Burton Albion and despite also suffering defeat at home to Walsall on Tuesday night, the Cod Army have won three of their seven games since Burns’ arrival. The Welshman’s tenacious work rate and sharp shooting has added something new to the Fleetwood front line and with the Club fighting for League One survival, the signing of Burns could prove a masterstoke come May.
In January Fleetwood completed the loan signing of Chelsea forward Alex Kiwomya. The 19-year-old - who began his career at Rotherham – made his debut for the Cod Army in a 0-0 draw at home to Doncaster. After being introduced as a second-half substitute in that game, Kiwomya started the Club’s next two games; a 2-1 defeat to Bradford City and another goalless draw, this time against Shrewsbury.
Remarkably the Sheffield-born attacker’s fourth outing for the Cod Army would also end 0-0 and after failing to make a huge impact at Highbury, Kiwomya returned to parent Club Chelsea last month.
That move to Fleetwood was not the first loan switch of the forward’s career however, with Kiwomya returning to his native Yorkshire for a spell with Barnsley last season. The England youth international arrived at Oakwell in January 2015 on an initial one-month deal.
The tricky wide man – who is yet to make a senior appearance for Chelsea – turned out five times for Barnsley; three of which were starts. Despite not enjoying great success during his time with the Reds, the teenager did enjoy a winning start to his time at the Club as the Tykes defeated Yeovil 2-0 at Oakwell.
Following on from that victory and the young Chelsea starlet was involved in defeats against Doncaster, the MK Dons, Swindon and future employers Fleetwood. Barnsley’s 2-1 loss against the Cod Army at Oakwell would prove to be Kiwomya’s final appearance in a Reds shirt but despite failing to score during his time in South Yorkshire, the versatile forward returned to Stamford Bridge having gained some valuable Football League experience.
Fleetwood’s last five at home: (DWWDL)
Fleetwood Town 0-0 Shrewsbury Town
Fleetwood Town 2-1 Scunthorpe United
Fleetwood Town 2-1 Gillingham
Fleetwood Town 2-2 Sheffield United
Fleetwood Town 0-1 Walsall
Barnsley’s last five away from home: (WLDWW)
Fleetwood Town 1-1 Barnsley (Barnsley won on pens; JPT)
Gillingham 2-1 Barnsley
Bury 0-0 Barnsley
Crewe Alexandra1-2 Barnsley
Walsall 1-3 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.
Adult Standing: £23
Over 65 Standing: £18
Under 18 Standing: £18
Under 16 Standing :£15
Under 5: FREE (when purchased with a full paying adult)
Adult Seated: £25
Over 65 Seated: £20
Under 18 Seated: £20
Under 16 Seated £12
Under 5: FREE when purchased with a full paying adult
In addition to the prices shown above Fleetwood Town also offer a FREE Juvenile Under 16 ticket to our Season Pass holders only when purchased alongside a full paying adult ticket. This offer is only available in the Reds Superstore/Box Office. We cannot refund Juvenile Under 16 tickets purchased in error online. Non Season Pass holders and Juveniles Under 16 who are not accompanied by an adult will be required to pay the relevant Juvenile Under 16 price for seated or standing tickets as shown above.
The Official Club Coaches depart Oakwell at 11.30am on the day of the game and tickets are priced at £16 per seat.
Tickets will remain on sale from the Reds Superstore/Box Office until 4pm on Friday 18th March, subject to availability.