MATCH PREVIEW: Barnsley V Blues

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Barnsley vs Birmingham City
2017/18 EFL Championship
Date: Saturday, 4th November 2017
Kick Off: 15:00 UK
Venue: Oakwell Stadium

Blues drew 2-2 on the road against Barnsley last season
Blues drew 2-2 on the road against Barnsley last season

Now then, the boys in blue now have the daunting task of performing to their best possible standard’s tomorrow afternoon, and snatch a victory against Barnsley at the Oakwell. The daunting part is to put on a show for the fans, as us Bluenoses aren’t happy at all with the football and results coming in lately.

Blues seem to be in deep, deep trouble in what could be some of the darkest times at the club since even the Lee Clark era, after we somehow managed to find ourselves defeated by two goals to nil against a mediocre Brentford side, that on the night ran us ragged courtesy of our terrible performances as a whole. We made the opposition look as though they were much better than they actually should, as we conceded a penalty and a poorly defended attack that resulted in a strike finding it’s way in the bottom corner of Kuszczak’s net.

Ollie Watkins converts from the spot against Brentford
Ollie Watkins converts from the spot for Brentford on Wednesday

Cotterill made some poor decisions to say the least in the game, which didn’t help the situation in the slightest, after substituting perhaps our best performing player on the pitch, and he even went as low as to putting David Cotterill in right-back position, despite Harlee Dean being a perfect option to bring of the bench to replace the injured Maxime Colin.

Maxime Colin is stretchered off against his former club
Maxime Colin is stretchered off against his former club

The faith just simply doesn’t seem to be there right now, and it’s not hard to see why, with injuries not benefiting us one bit, as the players would appear to be dropping like flies in the Blues squad. And our opponents for tomorrow afternoon’s clash, are around a similar position in the league to us, but don’t let that fool you, because being a Blues fan through-and-through, I know as much as anyone that we can never under-estimate any opponent that we face in this league, not even to mention the poor state we’re in currently…

The Tykes will be hungry to add to their points tally for the season as quickly as possible, and shoot up the table, but we must begin to pick up the pieces and bang in some goals against the likes of Barnsley and other teams around our standing in the table, because if we keep dropping points against the likes of these sides, we’ll see ourselves drop further and further down the table along the way, and before you know it, we’ll find ourselves with an impossible mission of surviving relegation in our hands. We simply need to prevent ourselves from falling in to the relegation trap sooner rather than later, before it really is too late…

If you were to pick out any positives from the game, it must be the quality from the man between the sticks for Blues once again, who is clearly giving us a reason as to why he should remain on the first-team sheet regarding when David Stockdale returns to action. We could’ve easily seen ourselves leaving the contest with potentially 4 goals against us if it wasn’t for Kuszczak. He made two brilliant one-on-one saves, but now he needs to begin to get backing from the defence again, because if it we see a negative performance from the back-line again tomorrow, then no doubt Barnsley top scorer Tom Bradshaw will be adding to his goal count for the season very quickly and easily.

Tom Bradshaw will look to add to his tally for the season.
Tom Bradshaw will look to add to his tally for the season.

Without the pace, skill and overall quality from Isaac Vassell up top, we were definitely struggling to get attacks up and running on Wednesday, even with four attackers on the pitch at one time, we still couldn’t get the ball in the back of the net against Brentford, but that needs to change tomorrow, as a new stage is set, and we need to treat the game as if our lives our depending on doing anything to grab 3 points on our travels.

Personally, I believe that we must get a win in the fixture in order to get our season back on track. Let’s dig deep and grind out a win tomorrow. COYBB!!

Team News:

BLUES – Maxime Colin is out for several weeks after picking up a hamstring injury against Brentford. Isaac Vassell (hamstring), Carl Jenkinson (shoulder) and David Stockdale (arm) will all miss the game as well. The gaffer has also said that a few other players are carrying knocks after the game on Wednesday.

BARNSLEY – Adam Jackson (knee) is out.

Head-To-Head:

Blues Wins – 37
Games Drawn – 20
Barnsley Wins – 22
Biggest Win – Blues 5-1 Brentford

League Form:

BLUES – LWLDL

BARNSLEY – WDLDW

Previous Encounter:

Barnsley 2-2 Blues (31st December 2016)

Played For Both – Marc Roberts

Roberts was sent off against Blues at Oakwell last season, as we drew 2-2 from the penalty awarded from a foul in the penalty area
Roberts was sent off against Blues at Oakwell last season, as we drew 2-2 thanks to the penalty awarded from Marc’s foul in the penalty area

New summer signing, Marc Roberts, will be nervous to take on his old side in at Oakwell, where he was captain of the South Yorkshire side. Marc made 72 appearances in a two year spell at Barnsley, but he’ll be eager to help us to keep a clean sheet tomorrow, as Blues fans will be hoping that he keeps up his good form that he’s been enduring over the previous bundle of games.

Predicted Lineup:

 

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Blues seem likely to switch to a 4-3-3 type formation to provide some more options in and around the box without the asset of Vassell. Boga looks likely to make his way back in to the first team, and Ndoye could see himself drop back into a slightly more defensive role during the match. Adams and Jota will remain on their preferred wings, and Jutkiewicz will look to make his name back on to the Starting 11, after Gallagher failed to impress many during Wednesday’s encounter.

Thoughts From The Boss:

On how togetherness can help Blues rise up the table:

It can take you a long way when you have got that team spirit, you can get it through winning, but you can also get it from when you have worked hard and not got any rewards. There is the start of something there spirit-wise. I can see it, it’s smouldering away, and it just needs the leaders to come to the fore in it.

On how a couple of positive results can lift everybody:

We have got some great supporters here. I feel for them at the moment because I am doing everything in my power to try and get them a winning team as quickly as I can – and I can’t quite get there quick enough for me and I know I can’t get there quick enough for them. I know they are passionate about their club. They have probably seen a little bit of a decline here for a little while, we have got to try and stop that before we can move on.

On what he thought of Barnsley when he watched them on Tuesday:

I thought they were a young energetic team. They looked like they had a good spirit about them and ran very hard for each other. I saw Barnsley the other night, I may have had something in my head before I saw them, now I have seen them I might not do that. Also, we have had a couple of injuries along the way that has affected my thinking a little bit – but I am a little bit clearer now than I was when I went to bed on Wednesday night.

Score Prediction:

I honestly can’t say that I am overly confident coming in to this match considering how poor and inconsistent we’ve been of late, but being a Bluenose I have to be positive in this kind of situation, and I’m going to go for a solid 0-1 away win from the blue boys.

I think that if we work hard enough, then we could easily prevent them from scoring, and Barnsley haven’t been the best for defending this year, so if Cotts puts out a good side and we push for it, then we could easily grab at least a goal and get our first win on our travels this season.

That’s my score prediction, but I want to hear yours! Comment your predicted score-line below, and feel free to tell us what you think about this Match Preview… KRO!!

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