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Match Previews

FULHAM PREVIEW

10 March 2022

Taking a look at our next assignment in the Sky Bet Championship as we look forward to welcoming Fulham to Oakwell this weekend.

This Saturday sees the second of three consecutive home fixtures for the Reds, as we entertain the Cottagers at Oakwell in a 12.30pm kick-off. 

The first happened in midweek when Poya Asbaghi saw his side denied at the death by Stoke City whose 95th minute leveller prevented Barnsley from recording three successive wins on home soil. 

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It wasn't a classic game by any stretch of the imagination on Tuesday night. Neither side were particularly impressive. But the visitors probably fashioned the better openings and deserved at least the point they received thanks to that late, late Lewis Baker strike.

The Reds weren't lacking in effort, but the quality shown in recent fixtures at Hull and then here against Middlesbrough wasn't as clear to see in a game that saw us offer little in terms of cohesion in and around the final third. 

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But there was certainly one moment of magic. That came about when Domingos Quina scored a superb solo goal, another rocket in front of the adoring Ponty End. The on-loan man wasn't at his personal best, but he has that ability to conjure up something special, and it was a goal good enough to win any game of football.

Sadly for us, the Potters kept hammering at the Reds door, which had retreated further and further back, before halfway through nine added minutes for stoppages, Baker was on-hand to curl home another finely executed finish after Barnsley had made a hash of clearing their lines.

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That one moment could well prove to be one that we look back on at the end of the season. It genuinely felt like Barnsley had lost at full-time, something that Asbaghi and his captain, Mads Andersen both later stated in their respective post-match interviews.

The game-in-hand on Reading has gone now, and we remain two wins away from catching the Royals. But we do still have to play them, at the very start of next month in what is shaping up to be a huge game.

But three big fixtures are in front of us before that April 2 showdown at Oakwell. And they aren't getting any easier for us. 

We end the month at Bramall Lane against our South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United who are flying under former Reds boss Paul Heckingbottom. Next Tuesday evening we welcome Bristol City to Oakwell, and before all that, on Saturday we tackle the league leaders and quite possibly one of the best sides to grace the Championship in Fulham. 

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Led by Portuguese coach Marco Silva, the Cottagers are nailed on for an instant return to the Premier League, following a blistering campaign in which they've blasted the competition aside both home and away.

They are 14 points clear at the top of the table and have won five games more (23) than their nearest challengers. They've scored 89 goals with 11 games still to play. For context, Barnsley have found the net just 25 times and sit on 24 points. 

The fact that we're still even discussing the possibility of staying up is bizarre after a wretched campaign. For our visitors on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, it's the opposite story as the London club continue to steamroll their way through the field.

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This is a side that's beaten Nottingham Forest 4-0 and Blackburn Rovers (both play-off chasing clubs) 7-0 away from home, and in midweek, hammered Swansea City 5-1 on their travels. 

They've also put six goals past both Birmingham and Bristol City, whilst much earlier in the season dismantled Huddersfield Town (3rd in the table) 5-1, away from home.

As stated, if there have been outfits at this level with more compelling statistics over a season in the second tier, we're struggling to find them. 

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In Serbian international striker Aleksandar Mitrović our visitors this weekend have the division’s leading marksman. His statistical output this season has been phenomenal, plundering 38 goals in 40 games across all competitions.

The former Newcastle United man was on the scoresheet in Fulham's 4-1 triumph against the Reds at Craven Cottage back in November. 

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But if we are somehow trying to find hope and optimism, the last time we met the Cottagers at Oakwell we were also massive underdogs yet saw off the title favourites 1-0 on the opening day of the 2019/20 season, with Luke Thomas grabbing the important goal. 

Our man in the middle on Saturday is Tim Robinson. The referee from West Sussex will be making his second visit of the season to Oakwell.

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He took charge of December's 0-0 draw with West Bromwich Albion. That fixture was also shown live on Sky Sports. 

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

But audio commentary is available with Matt Bailey and Callum Cooper on the mic from 12.15pm.

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

iFollow


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