Barnsley will be in buoyant mood when they welcome automatic promotion hopefuls Brighton to Oakwell following Tuesday night’s victory at Aston Villa.
A Tom Bradshaw brace and a penalty from strike partner Adam Armstrong secured a 3-1 victory for the Reds at Villa Park.
The win saw Paul Heckingbottom’s men move up a place into ninth and now having lost just once in their last six league games, confidence is high around Oakwell.
Visitors Brighton remain in second place despite a slight dip in their form of late.
Chris Hughton’s side have won just once in their last four Championship games; drawing twice and losing once, with their most recent outing ending in a 1-1 draw at home to Ipswich on Tuesday night.
Away from the Amex they have failed to win in their last four including a defeat at National League side Lincoln City in the FA Cup, but before that the Seagulls had won seven out of nine on the road and the Reds will need to be prepared for a backlash.
The Reds will be out to avenge September’s 2-0 defeat against the Seagulls.
Two goals from top goalscorer Glenn Murray secured all three points for Chris Hughton’s men in what was the first game to be played between the sides for two-and-a-half years.
That loss also ended Barnsley’s three-match unbeaten run against Brighton which had seen the Reds win two and draw one of the previous three meetings.
Despite losing that record, the Reds have not lost in their last four against the Seagulls at Oakwell and Paul Heckingbottom’s side will be looking to extend that run.
Paul Heckingbottom could be tempted to stick with the same XI which performed so admirably at Aston Villa on Tuesday night.
That would see Adam Armstrong and Tom Bradshaw lead the line, with George Moncur and Matty James in the centre of midfield.
The Barnsley boss does have other options available if he opts to make some changes, with Alex Mowatt returning from a three-game ban and Gethin Jones eager to be involved.
Chris Hughton could add some fresh legs to his Brighton side, with Glenn Murray, Jamie Murphy and Beram Kayal all pushing for recalls.
The visitors will have to do without defensive duo Gaeten Bong and Liam Rosenior once again however, due to knee and foot injuries respectively.
Man in the Middle
Saturday’s match sees David Coote take charge of a Barnsley game for the third time this season.
The Nottinghamshire-based official watched over the Reds’ 2-1 loss at home to Reading in September, as well as their 3-0 win at Birmingham in December.
In both of those matches, Coote dismissed a player from the opposing team, with Garath McCleary receiving his marching orders for the Royals and midfielder David Davis for Birmingham.
That victory at St Andrews was Barnsley’s first with Coote in charge; having lost four and drawn two in his company prior to that win.
Brighton meanwhile have won both of their previous meetings with this referee; beating Brentford 2-0 in January 2015 and Bristol City 4-0 nearly exactly a year ago.
This season the Nottinghamshire official has run the rule over 28 games, dishing out 104 yellow cards and four reds.
Their Star Man
Glenn Murray may have turned 33 in September but he remains one of the most prolific forwards in English football.
Since rejoining the Seagulls in July, the Maryport-born striker has netted 16 goals in 32 appearances including one against Burton last weekend, a hat-trick at home to Norwich in October and a brace against the Reds a month earlier.
Those fine performances saw Brighton turn Murray’s loan move from Bournemouth into a permanent one in January, with the former Carlisle man penning a two-and-a-half year contract at the Amex.
He previously scored 56 times for the Seagulls between January 2008 and May 2011, before spells with Crystal Palace, Reading and most recently Bournemouth.
As well as his great goal scoring return this term, Murray also brings a wealth of experience to Chris Hughton’s side, with the ex-Barrow man winning promotion from the Championship with Palace in 2013 following a season which saw him bag 31 times, while he hit 22 goals during the 2010-11 season to help Brighton win the League One title.
With 15 games left to go the clinical front man will be confident of beating the 20-goal mark once again and with the Seagulls firmly in contention for a top two finish, Murray could soon find himself part of another successful promotion-winning side.
Brighton completed the signing of Craig Davies in February 2009 following an impressive spell at Oldham.
Despite that however, the Wales international scored just once in 23 games for the Seagulls over an 18-month period which also saw him spend time away from the Club on loan at both Yeovil and Port Vale.
He left the Amex permanently in July 2010 to join Chesterfield but after hitting 25 goals in 45 outings for the Spireites, a whole host of Clubs took notice and it was the Reds who won the race to sign the former Manchester City youngster in July 2011.
After making his debut in a goalless draw at Nottingham Forest, Davies ended his first season at Oakwell with 11 goals; including strikes both home and away in wins against Leeds.
The former Oxford and Hellas Verona man continued to be amongst the goals in the following 2012-13 campaign which saw him net against former Club Brighton, as well as a remarkable performance at Birmingham which ended with Davies scoring four in a 5-0 victory.
That took him onto eight for the season but his final goal for the Reds would come against the side he would soon join, Bolton.
The Burton-born front man became Dougie Freedman’s first permanent signing at the Macron Stadium for a fee in the region of £300,000 in January 2013.
Following two-and-a-half years there, the 31-year-old joined near-neighbours Wigan in July 2015 before agreeing a switch to Scunthorpe in January.
Barnsley’s last five at home: (DLWLD)
Barnsley 2-2 Birmingham City (31/12/2016)
Barnsley 1-2 Blackpool (FA Cup) (17/1/2017)
Barnsley 3-2 Leeds (21/1/2017)
Barnsley 1-3 Wolves (31/1/2017)
Barnsley 0-0 Preston (4/2/2017)
Brighton’s last five away from home: (WLLLD)
Fulham 1-2 Brighton (2/1/2017)
Preston 2-0 Brighton (14/1/2017)
Lincoln City 3-1 Brighton (FA Cup) (28/1/2017)
Huddersfield Town 3-1 Brighton (2/2/2017)
Brentford 3-3 Brighton (5/2/2017)