This will be a shorter match preview than usual as it’s been a busy few days at From the Finney. We’re also without an opposition view but we hope you enjoy this piece nonetheless.

The second game in a few days for Alex Neil and his men as they travel to South Yorkshire to take on a Barnsley side who have picked up slightly since the departure of Daniel Stendel and the arrival of Gerhard Struber.

Stendel left Barnsley earlier in the season and Gerhard Struber was appointed Tykes boss. In his time in South Yorkshire, he’s seen his side win 4 and draw 3 of his 12 games. Compare that to Stendel’s record of 1 win since the opening day of the season, you could say that Struber has had a positive impact on the club. Will it be enough to see them stay in the Championship? Only time will tell.

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As for North End, we won our first game in 5 at the weekend against Charlton Athletic. We found ourselves 1-0 down inside 5 minutes with former player Andre Green scoring Charlton’s only goal of the game.

Pretty much on the half-hour mark, a wonder goal from Josh Harrop saw us find a way back into the game and a powerful header from Patrick Bauer in the second half against his former side was enough to secure all 3 points for us.

Despite our recent run of form, we’re still within touching distance of the top 2 and are only a couple of points outside of the top 6. Let’s hope now that our bad run is out of our system and we can build on a decent 4 points, including a 1-1 draw against local rivals, Blackburn Rovers.

Potential Dangers

I would say Cauley Woodrow but there’s a doubt over whether or not the 9-goal striker will be involved at all in the game after a hamstring injury. However, if he does play, the powerful forward will certainly pose a threat to North End.

The other player to watch out for is a player who has hit fine form since the Tykes’ new manager took charge. He, like Woodrow, has 9 goals for the season but he has 4 assists to his name compared to the number 9.

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Chaplin has often played out wide this season but has 6 goals in his last 7 appearances in all competitions for Barnsley.

A diminutive forward who is direct and drives forward with the ball who obviously has an eye for goal will give our right-back something to think about. Whether Darnell starts at right-back or Tom Clarke or Joe Rafferty, you can expect whoever it is to have a tough game up against the 22-year-old.

Predictions

This is a tough one to call both in terms of starting XI and also the scoreline. With it coming so soon after the Charlton game and with a few players coming back from injury in Daniel Johnson and potentially Ben Pearson returning from illness, it’s tough to guess how the gaffer will line up.

It’s worth remembering that new signing Scott Sinclair completed 90 minutes for the first time since March 2019. He might be fit and be raring to play but the manager is going to have to decide how much he can get out of him against Barnsley but I expect him to start. He may even leave him on for the full 90 considering we now have a free Saturday ahead.

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I think DJ will drop to the bench. He got 82 minutes on Saturday after missing our previous 9 games through injury and Josh Harrop has done enough to get another start. I also think Pearson will recover from illness but whether he’s completely right or not, only Ben and the club will know that.

I’ll go with the following for the starting XI: Rudd; Fisher, Bauer, Davies, Rafferty; Pearson, Browne; Barkhuizen, Harrop, Sinclair; Nugent.

As for the final score, I’m going to go with a hard-fought 2-1 victory for North End. Our last 10 visits to Barnsley going back to 2001 have only seen us win 3 games. We’ve drawn 4 and lost 3 so perhaps not what you might think.

Finally, if you haven’t yet listened to Episode #29 of the From the Finney podcast, check it out below.