Ah, Barnsley. That place we can never seem to get a win! My first away trip to watch Forest in the league was to Oakwell, I think we lost 1-0 – my abiding memory of the day were the home fans singing the Hovis song to us interspersed with yells of ‘Scabs’. I don’t think I’ve ever seen us get three points up there.
The only other thing of note I can think of was their club crest always inexplicably reminds me of The Village People. I do think it could be greatly enhanced by the inclusion of a Red Indian Chief, a Motorbike Cop and a Cowboy.
Barnsley are 17th in the table, and on paper you’d fancy your chances on a trip to play them – but of course, we’ve got our record there to consider too. With Ayala likely to miss out due to a hamstring injury our defence will be reshuffled – Hutchinson is still injured so it seems likely Moloney will come in and Halford will move to central defence.
Sean O’Driscoll did hint at the possibility of loaning in another defender to try to cover the lack of numbers at the back, although he’ll need to get a wriggle on to do so in time for the match. Adlene Guedioura is unavailable in midfield as he completes his latest suspension. The home side are looking short on firepower up front – Craig Davies is injured and Mido is unfit, and manager Keith Hill is hoping to bolster his strikeforce before the game with a signing.
Forest are unbeaten in a few games now – four to be precise. In our last six we’ve won two, drawn two and lost the latter two. Barnsley are unbeaten in their last two games but did taste defeat in both games before that. Their last game at home was a decent point against Palace on Tuesday night – their home game prior to that saw them lose to struggling Peterborough.
The biggest stumbling block for this game for us might be the man in the middle – remember Kevin Friend anyone? I was wondering why his name was lodged in my mind – he once disallowed a perfectly good Earnie goal for us against, of all people, Barnsley at Oakwell – but the main cause of consternation was his part in that horrific trip to Oldham where we lost 5-0. Admittedly he wasn’t to blame for how awful we were – but he did send off Sammy Clingan for no reason at all!
Not that I hold a grudge or anything, you understand.
On paper, definitely winnable. In practice? Well it’s always more complicated than that isn’t it? I’m hoping as ever for us to approach the game positively and play to our strengths which seems to be the case more often now we’re building a decent run of results and the resultant confidence that goes with that, but the Tykes are going to prove awkward opponents nonetheless.
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