Barnsley U23s host Burnley at the Oakwell Training Ground on Friday afternoon in the Professional Development League.
The young Reds are looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat at table-topping Birmingham City and rediscover their impressive form from the tail end of 2018.
Martin Devaney’s side picked up seven points from three games against Yorkshire rivals – including a sensational 2-0 victory over high-flying Leeds United at Thorp Arch.
But a brace from Isaac Vassell and a late goal from Ryan Stirk saw Barnsley slip to a 3-0 defeat in Birmingham, and Jordan Barnett believes it was a tough afternoon for his side.
“It was a bit difficult because we had a few lads in on trial, so we weren’t as organised as we perhaps could have been but I still felt that we could have won the game,” said the Reds’ full-back. “They obviously had a few first team players in and that made it difficult for us.”
Burnley head into Friday’s fixture on the back of a surprise 1-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday earlier this week, with Ben Hughes’ goal the only difference between the two sides at Curzon Ashton.
Prior to that, the Clarets had scored in their previous ten outings – winning six and drawing three of those, with a 6-3 loss to Leeds the only blot on their copybook during that run.
The reverse fixture saw Steve Stone’s team run out 4-1 winners against a Reds side that had to play two thirds of the game a man light following Will Smith’s dismissal for a second yellow card.
It was a tough ask for Barnsley, and it could prove to be an equally tricky encounter this time around as Burnley are the top scorers in the Professional Development League with 44 goals – one more than Queens Park Rangers.
“I think Burnley are one of the better teams that we’ve played, to be honest,” continued Barnett.“They’ve got a lot of good players that play to a high standard. Their best player won’t be playing on Friday because he’s with the first team, but hopefully we can get a bit of payback and show them what we can do.
“We’ll try to press high and win the ball back high up the pitch, and in doing so score as many goals as we possibly can. We’ve brought some of the under 18s in as well, which will be a great experience for them to play against Burnley.
“When we played Leeds, we beat them 2-0 and they had a few first team players in there and we just sat off and let them do their thing. It gives us confidence knowing that we can match these teams, and I think we’ll win against Burnley.”
Barnett spent a year with the Clarets prior to joining Barnsley at the start of this campaign, and the tenacious, versatile youngster is keen to get one over on his former side.
The 19-year-old is in regular contact with those still at Turf Moor and is relishing the prospect of going toe-to-toe with his former teammates.
“Quite a few of my mates still play for Burnley, so it’s going to be a difficult game but hopefully we’ll win the battle,” said Barnett. “There’s a bit of rivalry and banter – the right-back has told me he’s going to smash me, so that’ll be an interesting battle!”
You can find out how the young Reds fare against Burnley by watching the game for free at the Oakwell Training Ground, kick-off at 2pm.
Alternatively, you can follow the action on our official Academy Twitter account: @AcademyBFC.