Gianfranco Zola goes in search of his first win as Blues boss tomorrow against the team which probably hammered the final nail into the coffin of his predecessor Gary Rowett.
Blues will need to bear some teeth and provide much more of a goal threat than against Derby where their attempt at playing the ‘Birmingham Way’ failed to yield any real goal scoring opportunities. This is arguably Zola’s biggest test – his first two games were always going to be tough and we’d have done well to get anything out of either whoever was in charge, but Barnsley away is a game where most Blues fans will demand 3 points, regardless of the drubbing they dished out to us a few weeks ago, and the fact they are one of the form sides in the league.
Failure to get a positive result and two things will happen; those dead set against him and his appointment will sharpen their knives, and those with a more open mind will start to doubt where this is all going.
Blues have only Clayton Donaldson officially ruled out, although it will be too soon for Paul Caddis. David Cotterill is back in the squad following illness. Expect a few changes with Che Adams pushing to start to give Blues more punch at the top end of the pitch. Diego Fabbrini could also get the nod with Mikael Kieftenbeld and Greg Stewart largely ineffective against the Rams.
Barnsley could name an unchanged line-up for the sixth game in a row. The same XI has picked up four wins from the last five. Adam Hammill will not be involved as he serves the final game of his three-match ban but Aidy White could return to the squad after a long term gluteal injury.
Blues have a great record at Oakwell having won on each of their last 3 visits; 3-1, 2-1 and 3-0. However Barnsley ran out convincing 3-0 winners in the reverse fixture just a few games ago courtesy of Marc Roberts and a late Sam Winnall brace.
Subs: Legzdins, Kieftenbeld, Tesche, Robinson, Brown, Stewart, Cotterill
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