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James Crawley

James Crawley writes

Posted Friday, March 30th 2018

Big Match Preview: Barnsley away

Bristol City head to Barnsley with a win so important for either side.

Three points on Good Friday (March 30th) could see the Robins spring back into the play-off pack, while the relegation-threatened Tykes are fighting against the drop.

It's the first game of the Easter weekend and, coming off the back of the international break, marks the beginning of the end of another exciting Sky Bet Championship season.

FACTFILE

Formed: 1887
Nickname: the Tykes
Website: www.barnsleyfc.co.uk
Twitter: @bfc_official
Ground: Oakwell
Capacity: 23,287

Honours
Third Division (North) 1933/34, 1938/39, 1954/55
League One play-offs 2005/06, 2015/16
FA Cup 1911/12
Football League Trophy 2015/16

Last season
League finish: 
14th in Championship
FA Cup: Third round, lost to Blackpool
EFL Cup: First round, lost to Northampton
Top scorer: Sam Winnall, 11 goals
Player of the Year: Marc Roberts
Average attendance: 13,857

HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

What a difference a year makes. Barnsley were still in with a chance of making the play-offs at the turn of 2017, while City would find themselves in a fight away from the drop.

Today, City are the ones keeping pace with the top six, while the Tykes are treading water at the wrong end of the Sky Bet Championship.

Some big names have departed Oakwell including the talisman duo Conor Hourihane and Sam Winnall, as well as Josh Scowen and Marley Watkins who both left on free transfers, before club captain Marc Roberts was sold to Birmingham City.

Barnsley have continued to invest in talented youngsters from the lower leagues whose value will increase, but they will be dependent on winning over the new manager in charge, José Morais.

City ran out 3-1 winners at the Gate on the opening day of the season. Can Morais come up with the special goods to prevent another Robins rout?

New Barnsley boss José Morais

MEET THE GAFFER: JOSÉ MORAIS

It hasn't been plain sailing for Morais since he took the reins at Barnsley last month; Paul Heckingbottom's replacement has won just once in his seven games in charge.

The 52 year old has, on more than one occasion, been the understudy to his fellow-Portuguese friend José Mourinho, where he worked under the man dubbed 'the special one' at Chelsea, Porto, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

Lisbon-born Morais was a midfielder in his playing days, during an on-the-pitch career which spanned from 1984-1991.

He turned to management after his short playing career in 1999, when his friendship with Mourinho blossomed. He has also managed in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, before returning to England to take on the challenge at relegation-threatened Barnsley.

Ethan Pinnock

STAR MAN: ETHAN PINNOCK

The 24-year-old summer signing from Forest Green Rovers has been tipped for a big future. He played a key part in the Nailsworth side's promotion into the Football League before charging to the top of WhoScored.com's club ratings for the 2017/18 campaign with Barnsley.

He came to the fore towards the end of 2017 as he stepped in to cover injury, but he quickly cemented his place as part of the Tykes defence.

In his 12 appearances this season, Pinnock has scored two goals (back-to-back appearances against Reading and the winner versus Sunderland) and has contributed to four clean sheets.

Diédhiou uses his head to score in his Championship debut

MEMORABLE MEETING: 2017/18

BRISTOL CITY 3-1 BARNSLEY

Reid 16, 30, Diédhiou 25, Ryan 90.

City kicked off the 2017/18 season in perfect style with a 3-1 home win at Ashton Gate.

Bobby Reid continued from where he left off in pre-season with two goals and an assist, leaving City 3-0 up inside half an hour.

Famara Diédhiou scored City’s second with a close-range header to mark his Sky Bet Championship debut with a goal.

The hosts were dominant throughout and only Barnsley keeper Adam Davies prevented an even more one-sided scoreline, as Reid tapped in City's third.

Visiting boss Paul Heckingbottom, previously Johnson’s number two at Oakwell, made a half-time change in a bid to turn the tide, but the second period involved more of the same.

Korey Smith teed up Brownhill for a low shot pushed out by Davies, with the onrushing Paterson only denied a stab at the rebound by a last-ditch tackle.

City lacked their first-half urgency but understandably so. They had earned the right to play on the counter-attack and a Barnsley fightback never looked remotely likely.

The only blot on the City copybook was a very late reply from Hedges, who took his time before coolly slotting home in the final minute of added time.

Bristol City: Fielding, Wright, Pisano, Hegeler (Flint 82), Bryan, Paterson (O'Dowda 73), Smith, Pack, Brownhill, Diedhiou, Reid (Engvall 81). Subs not used: Lucic, Magnusson, Vyner, O'Neil.

Barnsley: Davies, McCarthy, Jackson, MacDonald, Yiadom, Williams, Mowatt, Potts (Hedges 63), Moncur, Bradshaw (Hammill 46), Ugbo (Payne 79). Subs not used: Bird, Brown, Pinnock, Townsend.

Attendance: 18,742

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Referee: Keith Stroud
Assistant Referees: Mark Pottage and John Flynn
Fourth Official: Brendan Malone

Betting (via Sky Bet) - Odds correct at time of writing.
Barnsley - 2/1
Draw - 23/10
City - 11/8