Preview: Barnsley v Blues

Blues’ record at Oakwell is favourable and they have lost just once there in a decade.


Blues face Barnsley away from home in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon, 3pm kick-off.

Aitor Karanka’s team will be looking to extend their unbeaten run when they visit Yorkshire for the second time this week.

Tuesday’s trip north saw them miss out on the opportunity to leapfrog opponents Huddersfield Town but they still took home a valuable point in their 34th match of the season.

And whilst Saturday’s match will present a different test, there is a feeling of real confidence around Blues given their recent run.

Likewise, Barnsley will be feeling positive as – along with Norwich City – they are the division’s in-form side, having put together a sequence of six straight victories.

They will also be eyeing up a double having edged the clash at St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium in December. However, Blues’ record at Oakwell is favourable and they have lost just once there in a decade, with nearly half of the 84 meetings in history going in the favour of Saturday’s visitors.


Under the guidance of Valerien Ismael since October, Barnsley have won 62% of their matches with the Frenchman in charge and have responded to three defeats in a row at the start of 2021 by embarking on an eight-game unbeaten run in the Championship. This spell has also seen them reach the FA Cup fifth round where they were narrowly beaten by Chelsea.

Their superb league form has them just one point outside the play-off places and nine points off the automatic spots, with it being 100 years since they last enjoyed a run of six wins on the spin.

Full of energy and verve, The Tykes – with just one player over 30-years-old - have not been giving teams any room to breathe in recent weeks and had two players named in’s Championship XI for February. This included Carlton Morris in midfield and, alongside Blues’ Kristian Pedersen in the back four, Michal Helik. The defender made the third-highest number of interceptions in the division last month as the Tykes conceded just twice in five outings.

In attack, of Cauley Woodrow’s 12 counters, nine have come since Ismael stepped through the door. This leaves the striker just one behind his total for the whole of last season. Also chipping in has been Alex Mowatt, with the midfielder racking up a half-a-dozen for both goals and assists this term.


Blues showed their steel as they took a point from a losing position versus Huddersfield. Having the better of a stop-start encounter, Blues found themselves behind when Fraizer Campbell fired the hosts into a surprise lead. But that lasted just four minutes as Marc Roberts put home the loose ball from Ivan Sanchez’ corner to earn Karanka’s side a draw.

Barnsley won away at QPR 3-1 midweek to boost hopes of a return to the Premier League for the first time since relegation in 1998. Daryl Dike’s opener was cancelled out by Charlie Austin, but two minutes later Mowatt restored their lead before Morris hit his fourth in ten matches after the break to wrap up the win.


Barnsley 0 Blues 1, 11 February 2020

A repeat of their last visit to Oakwell would represent a perfect first weekend of March for Blues. Victory there last season lifted the Club to 14th place.

On that occasion, the points were delivered thanks to Scott Hogan’s second-half effort, which was his third goal in as many games as he started his loan spell from the team’s Second City rivals.

The game’s decisive moment was laid on by Jude Bellingham and the pair had been threatening to strike from the off when Hogan headed the teenager’s corner over early on.


Caolan Boyd-Munce (thigh) is out through injury. Sam Cosgrove (ankle) is continuing his recovery.


Blues wins: 39

Draws: 20

Barnsley wins: 25


Championship 01 Dec 2020 – Blues 1 Barnsley 2

Championship 11 Feb 2020 – Barnsley 0 Blues 1

Championship 20 Aug 2019 – Blues 2 Barnsley 0

Championship 24 Feb 2018 – Blues 0 Barnsley 2

Championship 04 Nov 2017 – Barnsley 2 Blues 0



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Referee: Graham Scott

Assistant Referees: Harry Lennard and Peter Kirkup

Fourth Official: Robert Madley