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Match Previews

WEST BROM PREVIEW

15 December 2021

Everything you need to know ahead of Friday night's meeting with the Baggies here at Oakwell.

The Reds are back on home soil this Friday 17 December as we take on high-flying West Bromwich Albion in a 7.45pm kick-off, live on Sky Sports in our final Sky Bet Championship fixture before Christmas.

It will be the first of back-to-back games here at Oakwell, and signals a return to Barnsley for former head coach Valérien Ismaël and last season's skipper, Alex Mowatt.

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And whilst the Baggies are bouncing in the upper echelons of the division, much like the Reds last term, it's a very different story for Barnsley this time around, as the season has quickly become about survival.

That adjusted objective looks miles away at present. The Reds have won just two matches all season, and despite the appointment of a new head coach in Poya Asbaghi, we are winless in his first four games as boss.

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We should be thankful that following the last few Championship matchdays the eight-point gap between us and safety hasn't grown further still.

Interviews

ASBAGHI PRE-WBA

15 December 2021

That was the case last weekend when yet another road trip ended in defeat. In an evenly contested fixture with Preston North End at Deepdale, lax defending of a late set-piece ultimately thwarted an improved Barnsley performance, in a 2-1 away loss. 

Prior to that Preston winner, captain, Cauley Woodrow had equalised for the Reds with a clever header, his first goal since a 1-1 draw at Stoke City back in September but having limped off towards the end of the game, it remains to be seen if he will be involved this Friday night against Albion.

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Potentially a huge blow for Asbaghi, but also an opportunity should that be the case, for someone else, and maybe even within a different system.

Interviews

ANDERSEN PRE-WBA

15 December 2021

The Baggies sit third in the Sky Bet Championship table as we reach the halfway stage of the 21/22 campaign. At least one position below where the club would have liked and expected to be, but they're within spitting distance of Bournemouth above them, and if they were to give the Reds a thumping on Friday evening, they could leapfrog the Cherries.

Ismaël's reign got off to an ideal start this season. They were unbeaten in their opening 10 league fixtures up to October, but a defeat on a Friday night game televised by Sky Sports at Stoke City seemed to derail their momentum.

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They went on to lose their next three away games too, and it's only in recent weeks that they've returned to winning ways on the road, a 2-1 victory at Coventry City 10 days ago now.

It's their impressive home form that sees them riding high in the league standings. Unbeaten at The Hawthorns. On the road, they've scored just three goals in their last six away fixtures.

And they'll be visiting Oakwell, a stadium they've not tasted victory at since 1947. That's 18 consecutive unsuccessful trips for Albion and their supporters.

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But in former Huddersfield Town striker Karlan Grant, the Baggies do have a player in good form as he returns to the region. The 24-year old goal grabbed six goals in as many games through October and November and he scored in that recent win at Coventry too.

In terms of likely selection dilemmas for Albion, a COVID-19 outbreak last week saw all of Cedric Kipre, Conor Townsend, Semi Ajayi and Matt Clarke miss out in the club's 1-0 home win over struggling Reading. 

And whilst the isolation period may be over for one or more of them, it is unlikely that they'll be risked on Friday night, having been unable to train for 10 days. And so the likes of Jake Livermore and Adam Reach could be asked once again to fill in as makeshift central defenders.

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The last time we met the Baggies here at Oakwell was in 2019, and that was in December also, as the Reds hit back in stoppage time through Aapo Halme to claim a 1-1 draw on Boxing Day.

Our man in the middle this Friday night will be Tim Robinson. Based in West Sussex, the official has yet to take charge of a Reds game this term.

His last trip to Oakwell came in last season's 2-1 defeat for Barnsley against a Sheffield Wednesday side who ended up relegated regardless.

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With the fixture being broadcast by Sky Sports, there are no video passes via iFollow Barnsley. 

But audio commentary is available with Matt Bailey and Callum Cooper on the mic from 7.35pm.

For further information on iFollow for this season, and how to activate seasonal subscriptions, please click the link below. 

iFollow


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