Barnsley vs. Forest preview..

Hot on the heels of disappointment in Lancashire, Billy’s ailing-when-travelling boys take a trip to Yorkshire to face Barnsley to try to make amends again.  Indeed, to make recent form seem worse, we’ve got a pretty bad record in general at Oakwell.  We’ve lost on more than half the occasions we’ve played there, although last season we did manage a draw – it finished 1-1 back in April last year.

The Tykes home form isn’t too bad, but not great either – they’ve won three of their last six encounters, whereas Forest’s recent away form is undeniably crap – losing six on the bounce now.  In those six games we have only mustered two goals,  both of those of course coming against Preston on Saturday.  Plenty of cause for pessimism?

Well, perhaps not.  Forest were undoubtedly poor in the first half – but in the second against Preston showed some real strides of positivity.  If that momentum can be built upon perhaps our away woes can be turned around to the extent our unbeaten away run seemed to be!  Although Billy does have – as ever – a selection poser to contend with ahead of this game.

Chris Cohen demonstrated in at Deepdale the value he adds in the centre of the park – so I expect to see him in midfield.  Earnie demonstrated that he delivers goals, surely he needs to start – but our midfield demonstrated itself as sorely missing McKenna – so do we risk two up front again?  It’s a real headache.

I would personally, I think, opt for safety and put five in midfield – Majewski just behind Blackstock, with Moussi and Cohen deeper to cover defensively, and Boyd and Anderson on the wings.  Left back would be Perch (if fit), if not then we have numerous options that aren’t ideal involving shuffling our defence around to find a space for Chambers, I think.

As for our opponents, they played at home on Saturday and mustered a 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace.  Reports suggest they had the better of it though, and were a little shot shy.  That said, it’s the first time they’ve failed to score in their last nine games (although in six of those games they only scored the one).

They have a bit of injury niggle to contend with – Carl Dickinson is likely to miss out, and manager Mark Robins will be awaiting confirmation from specialists regarding a vision problem Nathan Doyle has been suffering with.  The Reds will need to watch out for Bogdanovic who’s banged in 11 goals so far this term, and the fuel that might be provided to him from the likes of Hammill, a young winger signed from Liverpool (sound familiar?).

Talking with friends before the Preston game we agreed we wanted a four point haul from the two fixtures, which isn’t going to happen now, but it would really be a tremendous morale boost if the Reds could arrest their away woes with a win at Oakwell.  Whilst I shouldn’t look at other fixtures, if West Brom also drop points against Swansea it could be a double whammy of goodness.

If we lose then not only does it make me grumpy it makes that game elsewhere a bit of a poisoned chalice, as we could find ourselves bemoaning a bigger gap to second, or we could be looking over our shoulders at Swansea playing catch up.  I’ve decided to look at things positively, it’s great to be in the mix still even in trickier times – so let’s try to enjoy the ride!

More importantly, let’s get behind the boys at Oakwell too – there was some great back in the second half at Deepdale (interspersed with the usual moans of course), let’s do that from the off in Barnsley and play our part as well we can.