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Big Match Preview: Barnsley home

City kick-off the new Sky Bet Championship season against Barnsley at Ashton Gate tomorrow (3pm).

Head coach Lee Johnson comes up against his former employers in the opening game, with a crowd in excess of 18,000 expected in BS3.

Here's a look at the opponents.

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?

Still in play-off contention at the turn of the year, the January transfer window proved profitable off the pitch but costly on it for today’s visitors.

Talismanic duo Conor Hourihane and Sam Winnall both departed for multimillion pound fees. Aston Villa-bound Hourihane led the league in assists at the end of the season with 14, while Winnall had 11 goals in 23 games for the Tykes before joining Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

Having coped well enough to begin with, Barnsley went on to win just one of their last 14 league matches to finish only four points better off than once relegation-threated City.

This summer the trend has continued. Key players Josh Scowen and Marley Watkins both left on free transfers, before club captain Marc Roberts was sold to Birmingham City.

Barnsley continue to invest in talented youngsters from the lower leagues whose value will increase, but Paul Heckingbottom’s men will have to defy the odds to compete with the Sky Bet Championship big boys again this time around.

However, pre-season saw them thrashed 4-0 at Rotherham United, who were relegated from the Championship last season.

Paul Heckingbottom previously worked under Lee Johnson

MEET THE GAFFER: PAUL HECKINGBOTTOM

Johnson’s assistant throughout his year-long reign as Barnsley boss, Heckingbottom was in caretaker charge either side of Johnson’s tenure.

His second stint in the temporary hot seat was highly successful, leading his hometown club to a Wembley double with victory in the Football League Trophy and League One play-off finals.

Rewarded with a permanent contract, life back in the Championship started well, but Heckingbottom’s hands have been tied by the financial power of other clubs who have poached his best players.

A Barnsley season ticket holder as a kid, the 40-year-old did not wear the shirt as a player until a two-year spell in his late 20s, which included another taste of play-off glory against Swansea City on penalties at the Millennium Stadium.

Adam Hammill came through the Liverpool Academy

STAR MAN: ADAM HAMMILL

Barnsley’s Player of the Year in the club’s promotion campaign, the Tykes did well to keep hold of their star winger, who signed off the season in style with a spectacular goal against Millwall at Wembley.

But while the likes of Conor Hourihane and Sam Winnall continued to shine in the Championship, eventually securing big money moves away from Oakwell, Hammill’s form dipped.

His last-gasp equaliser at City’s expense last October is still his last goal in competitive action, but the Liverpudlian looks to have rediscovered his spark over pre-season and remains one of Barnsley’s marquee threats.

Vastly experienced at this level, Hammill spent two years as a Barnsley player before earning a transfer to Premier League Wolves in 2011. He has since represented Middlesbrough, Huddersfield Town and Rotherham United.

There are normally plenty of goals in this fixture

MEMORABLE MEETING: 2009/10

BRISTOL CITY 5-3 BARNSLEY

Haynes 2, 63, Maynard 43, 56, Hartley 76 (pen); Colace 3, Bogdanovic 25, Gray 81

Games between City and Barnsley are rarely dull affairs and this eight-goal thriller was right up there for entertainment.

The action toed-and-froed from the start. No sooner had Danny Haynes headed City in front than Huge Colace restored parity for the visitors at Ashton Gate.

Daniel Bogdanovic then fired Barnsley in front, but in Nicky Maynard City had a striker bang in form.

After scoring a stunning opener live on Sky against Newcastle United three days earlier, Maynard showed his predatory instincts from closer range with two headers either side of half-time to swing the balance back in City’s favour.

Haynes made it 4-2, leaving both strikers on a hat-trick, but when City were awarded a penalty after Maynard was fouled it was Paul Hartley who took responsibility from the spot.

Substitute Andy Gray registered a late consolation, but by Barnsley were already well beaten.

Bristol City: Gerken, Orr, Carey, Fontaine, Ribeiro, Elliott (Johnson 82), Hartley, Skuse, Campbell-Ryce, Maynard (Clarkson 90), Haynes (Akinde 90). Subs not used: Henderson, Sno, Sproule, Maierhofer.

Barnsley: Steele, Hassell, Foster, Potter, Shotton, Colace, Teixeira (De Silva 86), Hallfredsson (Hume 72) Doyle, Bogdanovic, Macken (Gray 67). Subs not used: Preece, Moore, Butterfield, Devaney.

Attendance: 13,009.

AND FINALLY...

Officials
Referee: Andy Davies
Assistant Referees: Mark Pottage & Andrew Fox
Fourth Official: Brett Huxtable

Betting (via Sky Bet)
City - 5/6
Barnsley - 16/5
Draw - 13/5