Back to back wins on the back of what was a good away point at Ewood Park against Rovers and North End are back up in the playoff spots. The league is very tight at the moment anyway but two wins from two games will do Alex Neil and his men the world of good.

Last night’s 3-0 win over Barnsley at Oakwell was only our 3rd away win of the season but it came at the perfect time as far as a confidence boost was concerned.

Anyway, here are our player ratings from the game. Let us know if you agree or disagree with any of these.

Declan Rudd

Dec made a couple of sharp saves early on but was relatively quiet after the first goal. One thing that was noted was his increasing confidence and command. In the best form of his North End career. Let’s hope he signs a new deal soon.

Rating – 7

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Darnell Fisher

A second assist in the space of a few days for Darnell, who used his athleticism to provide the width in North End’s new look diamond. Great move for Barkhuizen’s first goal, solid defensively all night and he seemed to be back to his former self. Long may it continue.

Rating – 7

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Patrick Bauer

Won absolutely everything in the air. Ultimately, it was a relatively comfortable night for the German but he stamped his authority on the game early on. We’ve become used to his dominance. A fantastic defender.

Rating – 7

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Ben Davies

Comfortable on the ball all night and made some good interceptions, he reads the game so well. Never flustered and like Bauer, asserted himself on the game early on and never looked back.

Rating – 7

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Joe Rafferty

Solid as usual from Raff, but in the diamond where the onus is on the full-backs to offer width, he wasn’t best suited to tonight’s game – no fault of his own, he isn’t left-footed.

Rating – 6

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Ben Pearson

Ben reads the game so well and as the lone sitter in the diamond, it was imperative that he patrolled the middle of the park in the manner that he did. He set the tempo with his aggression and was always on the front foot to intercept loose balls.

Another cracking performance from Pearo.

Rating – 8

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Alan Browne

Another player whose energy suits the diamond, as one of the two wide players in the system, he used his legs to press Barnsley’s left back to great effect. Browney linked up well going forward but still isn’t quite the player we saw last season.

However, he certainly looks like a seasoned Championship pro now and is very comfortable at this level.

Rating – 7

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Daniel Johnson

To play his second game in the space of 4 days was a phenomenal effort after missing the last 9 games or so. He looked like he’d never been away and like Browne, he suits this system.

Ghosted into dangerous areas on numerous occasions in the first half, and took his goal very well on his weaker foot while he was falling. A fantastic Championship midfielder and 6 points from 6 since his return is no coincidence.

Rating – 8

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Josh Harrop

Clearly playing with confidence and a smile on his face, Harrop produced more of the same tonight with energy and enthusiasm. The weight of the pass to set Fisher free to assist Barkhuizen was an example of the quality he possesses.

He’s a very intelligent player who can play in tight spaces and he’s another who suits the system. Impressive stuff.

Rating – 8

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Tom Barkhuizen

Barky pressed magnificently and he never gave Barnsley’s defenders a second’s rest. He took both goals very well, even if a bit fortuitous for the second.

Involved in most of our good attacking play and another who looks like he’s a seasoned Championship pro. We’re lucky to have him.

Rating – 9

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Scott Sinclair

Clearly the frightening winger is still acclimatising to the pace of the Championship, and in an unfamiliar role tonight, he did ok.

Scott had one half-decent chance at the end of the first half but blazed over the shot with his left foot. Clearly though, Sinclair has the quality and with more minutes, he’ll be a great player for us. Bags of pace and looks a threat when driving forward with the ball at his feet.

Rating – 6

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Substitutes

Sean Maguire and Brad Potts were introduced in the 67th minute as Scott Sinclair and Daniel Johnson made way.

It was good to see Seani get a rest and hopefully, there’s a bit more to come for his sake. He looked lively when he came on for the last 20 minutes, as did Pottsy.

Rating – 6 for both

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David Nugent was the final substitute who came on for double goalscorer Tom Barkhuizen. Nuge slotted in down the right side and was, as ever, full of running and linked up well with Josh Harrop toward the end to create a good opportunity for the Manchester United youngster.

Rating – 6

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Last but by no means least, we give this week’s episode of the pod a 10/10. Check out episode #29 of the From the Finney podcast by hitting the play button below or stream it and all other episodes, including our From the Finney Meets… episodes with former North End players on all good streaming platforms.