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Barnsley Preview

By: Richard Hubbert
Date: 30/08/2001

AFTER Bank Holiday Monday's 4-2 defeat to Portsmouth, Town face Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, managed by ex-Sheffield United boss Nigel Spackman.

Home > 2001-2002 Season > Previews > Barnsley (h)

The Opposition

Spackman, who was given the job earlier this year after the departure of Dave Bassett, has not had the start to his first full season that he would have ideally liked. So, with Barnsley having just four points from a possible 12, it gives Town the perfect opportunity to beat a side that has failed to keep a clean sheet in the league so far this season...

The Squad

After signing from Crystal Palace in 1999, Kevin Miller (left) has firmly established himself as the Tykes number one stopper. The commanding keeper, who in fact trains with Town's Danny Coyne, was signed by former manager Dave Bassett in a £250,000 fee. Over the three years that he has occupied the number one jersey, Miller has more than repaid this fee with some heroic goalkeeping between the posts. This has made it extremely difficult for new signing Andrew Marriott to displace him. Signed this summer from Sunderland, after finding first team games hard to come by, Marriott has been brought in for some much needed cover after the retirement of David Watson. Town fans will probably remember Marriott from the 1997/98 season when his man of the match performance and penalty save held Town to just a 0-0 at home to Wrexham.

Barnsley's defence often centres around the presence of veteran Steve Chettle (left), who was signed from Nottingham Forest on a free transfer in 1999. In that season, Chettle formed a very strong backline along with youngster Chris Morgan, with Morgan going on to attract interest from a number of Premier league clubs and scooping the Player of the Year award that season. The defence has been bolstered even more in the last few years with the emergence of youngsters Chris Barkerand Brian O'Callaghan who have provided manager Nigel Spackman with some food for thought at the back. Former Manchester City player Lee Crooks became Nigel Spackman's third signing for the Yorkshire club, after beating off competition from rivals Huddersfield Town for his signature. Unfortunately Crooks got injured almost immediately after signing for the Tykes, and so he missed the back end of last season, but after a successful pre season he is sure to play a big part in the Tykes division one campaign.

Combative midfielder Mitch Ward (left) is a player whose battling skills play an integral part of the Tykes engine room. Snapped up last summer for a £200,000 fee from Everton, Ward endured himself to the Barnsley fans with his 100% commitment and willingness to fight for the cause. Boss Nigel Spackman will hope that Wards enthusiasm and experience will rub off onto some of his younger players. One of these youngsters is Alex Neilwho was signed from Airdrie last summer for a modest £25,000 fee. Unfortunately Neil did not have the greatest of season last year and more than anything, struggled to find his favoured position. Hopefully his progress will be aided by the presence of experience first teamers such as Kevin Donovan (top), whom Town fans know all about, Dean Gorre, who was picked up for a bargain £50,000 fee from local neighbours Huddersfield, the experience Eric Tinkler and Welsh International Darren Barnard.

These players will be relied on to supply the ammunition for the strikers on Barnsley's books. One of these is Lee Jones, signed from Tranmere last season after the departure of Craig Hignett. But after having experiencing horrendous injury problems and loss of form, Jones has found it difficult to hold down a first team place. One person who has firmly cemented himself onto the Tykes teamsheet is big striker Bruce Dyer (left), whose pace and power is a telling factor and a thorn in many first division defences. His striker partner at the moment is ex Arsenal youngster Isiah Rankin who was Nigel Spackman's first signing for the Oakwell club. He, however, has stiff competition from ex Stoke forward Mike Sheron and the experienced Kevin Gallen, who was signed on a free transfer from Huddersfield after the sudden sale of Neil Shipperley.

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Leading Goalscorers (League + Cup)


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Town Team News

  • Alan Pouton is a major doubt after taking a bang on his shin in the 4-2 loss to Portsmouth on Monday. If he fails to make it then Wayne Burnett will slot into central midfield, meaning Danny Butterfield will play down the right.
  • Captain Paul Groves got a similar knock, but should be OK.
  • Striker Bradley Allen will take a place on the bench after coming through Wednesday night's reserve match at Doncaster injury free.
  • Striker Steve Livingstone is still sidelined and will remain so for 3-4 weeks, as will Paul Raven and David Smith. Stacy Coldicott has an outside chance of making next Saturday's away game at Coventry.

  • Barnsley Team News

  • Darren Barnard will miss the game due to international duty for Wales, who play for Armenia in a World Cup Qualifier.
  • Mitch Ward, who missed Mondays game with Rotherham, should be fit to take his place in the Barnsley midfield.
  • Striker Lee Jones could be fit enough to take a place on the bench after recent injury problems, but fellow striker Kevin Gallen is definitely out.

  • Expected Line Ups


    Danny Coyne
    John McDermott
    Tony Gallimore
    David Beharall
    Paul Groves
    Alan Pouton
    Stuart Campbell
    Danny Butterfield
    Menno Willems
    Phil Jevons
    Johnny Rowan
    Kevin Miller
    Brian O'Callaghan
    Chris Barker
    Steve Chettle
    Chris Morgan
    Kevin Donovan
    Eric Tinkler
    Mitch Ward
    Lee Crooks
    Isiah Rankin
    Bruce Dyer
    Bradley Allen
    Mike Jeffrey
    Ben Chapman
    Wayne Burnett
    Ronald Ermes (GK)
    Dean Gorre
    Alex Neil
    Mateo Corbo
    Lee Jones
    Andy Marriott (GK)

    Recent Meetings

    In recent years at Blundell Park, Barnsley have been the more victorious, winning on their last three visits. Last season a 2-0 victory and goals from Bruce Dyer gave Barnsley the three points, whilst the previous season, a Craig Hignett hat trick on Boxing Day, gave Barnsley an easy win in front of a full house at Blundell Park. A full head to head guide between the two teams can be seen below.

    Barnsley Head-to-Head (39th on The Opposition Ladder).

    Prediction For Game

    Well, considering that Barnsley have not kept a clean sheet in the league this season, and that Town have scored in every game they've played, this one is destined for a 0-0 draw! But I personally see no reason why Town should not beat a Barnsley side, who are my personal favourites for relegation. So, I'll I stick my head out for a 1-0 Town win.

    Fishy prediction: 1-0 to the Mariners. Reader's POMs


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