Everything you need to know about our midweek clash with Boro!
After another disappointing result last time out, losing 1-0 away at Reading on Saturday, there's a quick opportunity to put an end to what has become a bad run of form for the Reds.
For Markus Schopp's side, the latest reverse in Berkshire at the weekend was the fourth successive league defeat, with just the one goal - a penalty - to show for their efforts.
At the Select Car Leasing Stadium, the visitors were improved in terms of their performance and looked very good on the ball at times, but once again, their lack of a cutting edge came back to bite them, with the Royals grabbing a 77th minute winner with the Barnsley defence easily beaten by one diagonal ball in behind the wingback.
The hosts did create the better opportunities, with the Reds limited to efforts from range for the most part, with defeat in Reading their sixth from 12 games played so far, remaining on eight points and sat in the bottom three of the division.
There seems no light at the end of the tunnel either, in terms of the Reds' struggles with injuries and fitness issues. Callum Styles and Liam Kitching were the latest to miss out at the weekend, with Schopp still unable to call upon the services of Mads Andersen, Aapo Halme, Josh Benson, Carlton Morris and Obbi Oularé.
It remains to be seen whether any others suffered in Berkshire also. As the Austrian himself admits, it's a tough time for the Reds that can't continue for much longer, as we head into the second quarter of this 21/22 campaign.
Wednesday evening's trip north to Teesside sees Barnsley up against a side who've been patchy at best this season. Boro have won and lost three of their last six games, they are sat in 12th position at present and they too have been beset by injury problems at the Riverside.
Wily old fox Neil Warnock remains in the dugout for the hosts, and he's been without a clutch of defenders recently. In Saturday's 2-0 home win against Peterborough United, all of Dael Fry, Darnell Fisher, Grant Hall, Marc Bola and Anfernee Dijksteel were missing, with midfielders Jonny Howson and Paddy McNair operating as makeshift centre backs.
But Boro have been in decent form on Teesside. That victory backed up a terrific 2-0 win on home soil against Sheffield United just prior to the international break. Although their last defeat, like the Reds, was a 1-0 loss away at Reading.
In terms of a player to keep an eye on, it's difficult to look beyond the impressive Matt Crooks. A former Huddersfield Town trainee, it was with Rotherham United in recent seasons where the midfielder caught the eye. The 27-year-old Yorkshireman joined Boro on a three-year deal in the summer and has already notched a couple of goals in the Championship. Energetic, box-to-box and a commanding presence at 6'4" tall, it'll be interesting to see how a small in stature Reds midfield cope in that particular battleground.
The Reds made two trips to the Riverside last season, with mixed results. A second round Carabao Cup victory was earned in September, with goals from Patrick Schmidt and Jordan Williams confirming a 2-0 win, whereas, three weeks later we were beaten 2-1 in league action; Cauley Woodrow with a late penalty kick.
It is eight years since we last tasted success on Teesside in the league. That was in February of 2013 when Jason Scotland's late strike sealed a 3-2 victory.
The man in the middle on Wednesday evening is Mr Andrew Madley. Usually found in the Premier League, the Huddersfield-native last took control of a Reds fixture away at Blackburn Rovers last season, a 2-1 defeat for us on the day. Andrew's brother Bobby, also an official, was on the Reds' books as an academy player some years ago.
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