All the relevant pre-match reading ahead of our clash with the Seasiders this weekend.
We are finally set to see our first Sky Bet Championship fixture of 2022. After the postponement of both the Nottingham Forest trip (Jan 3) and our already-rearranged home clash with Stoke City (should have been tonight), there's been no action in the league for the Reds so far in this new year.
But we were treated to a nine-goal thriller here at Oakwell at the weekend. Barnsley advanced into the fourth round of this year's Emirates FA Cup by just about seeing off the challenge of League Two outfit Barrow AFC.
Two goals up and playing against 10 men by half-time, it looked like a fairly straightforward tie going into that interval. But summing up our season to date pretty much, everything went awry in the second half and the Reds needed extra time, some poor vision from a referee and the goals of substitute Carlton Morris to eventually edge out the Cumbrians 5-4.
A first win though, sort of, for head coach, Poya Asbaghi. But it was a performance he wasn't happy about, when he spoke to the awaiting journalists post-match, referring to his side's poor attitude after the break that allowed the Bluebirds back into the match.
But following that victory, it was confirmed a couple of days later that our fixture against Stoke was to be postponed for a second time. But on this occasion, it was Barnsley's lack of available players that saw that one bite the dust, albeit temporarily.
Down to the barest of bare bones, there have of course been doubts about Saturday's clash with the visiting Tangerines going ahead, but as of today, the fixture remains on as the Reds hope to recover players from either injury or otherwise.
On Tuesday evening, the club in 21st place in the Championship, Reading were annihilated 7-0 by Fulham, so the gap between them and the Reds remains at an already huge eight points. In essence, the need for victories has never been greater this season, and anything but that against Blackpool at Oakwell will severley hamper our bleak-looking survival chances further still.
The Tangerines are firmly ensconced in mid-table. 12th to be precise. They are a staggering 19 points better off than Barnsley, and that's despite their own recent struggles.
Up until their victory against Hull City (1-0 at Bloomfield Road) on New Year's Day, they had won just once in 10 previous outings; a run of results that had seen them drop out of the play-offs.
It's difficult to complain about any of that, however, considering this is the Seasiders first season back in the Championship following last season's sterling success in earning promotion via the League One play-offs.
A familiar face in the Blackpool squad scored both goals in their play-off final, and is a regular starter back in the second tier for the Tangerines. Australian international Kenny Dougall spent a couple of seasons at Oakwell prior to his stint by the seaside, and whilst that spell was constantly interrupted by injury, he was a well-liked and dependable midfielder.
It's a very vibrant-looking Blackpool outfit under Neil Critchley, the former Liverpool academy coach who is only enjoying his second full season in charge of the club.
He added to their ranks this week by recruiting centre forward Jake Beesley from League Two side Rochdale. The 25-year-old has bagged a dozen goals this season and is another string in Critchley's attacking bow going into this clash with the struggling Reds.
Blackpool saw off Barnsley back in September in the reverse fixture at Bloomfield Road. In a game of few chances, the Reds failed to take theirs and the hosts grabbed a 1-0 home win that helped kickstart their own season, whilst that defeat served only to confirm the struggles ahead for us.
Our last Oakwell encounter with the Seasiders came back in April of 2019, when after going behind to a first half Harry Pritchard strike, goals from Cauley Woodrow and then Liam Lindsay sealed three points and automatic promotion back to the Championship at the very first attempt.
The man in the middle at Oakwell on Saturday will be John Busby. From Oxford, this is his first full season reffing at this level primarily.
This is a category C fixture, our cheapest tickets on offer.
In terms of streaming the fixture, a reminder that the EFL returned to the position held pre-pandemic, where any games kicking off between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturday afternoons are prohibited.
However, supporters in the UK are able to buy audio passes via iFollow Barnsley.
Our overseas fans can enjoy live streaming of the game, with a match pass priced at just £10.
For further information on iFollow for this season, and how to activate seasonal subscriptions, please click the link below.