Tuesday night sees Barnsley travel south to the Ricoh Arena and they’ll be hopeful of putting the brakes on to cease an awful run of results. The Sky Blues will be feeling confident, however, and if this fixture is half as pulsating as Saturday’s action-packed encounter with Peterborough then we’ll be in for a treat.
With this fixture being a game in hand for both sides, I can only imagine that the respective managers will see this as a chance to gain some ground, albeit at opposite ends of the table. A win could propel Coventry to just one point from the summit of League One, whilst the Tykes will be itching to pull themselves out of the bottom four.
Coventry City will be going in to November with confidence brimming as the month of October saw them piece together an unbeaten run. Despite a couple of disappointing draws that perhaps should have been wins, Mowbray’s side still sit in 4th position and encouraging signs are visible as they bid for promotion.
In their last five league fixtures, the midlands outfit have picked up 2 wins and 3 draws to hand them with 9 points from the 15 on offer. Although they’ve conceded 4 goals in the last 2 games, Coventry also possess one of the meanest defences in the division, only conceding 14 goals in 15 games.
The Tykes supporters will be infuriated at the current state of affairs at Oakwell. Lee Johnson has saw his side falter and fall to 6 straight league defeats – their worst run since 1976 – and should they lose this fixture, it would make it the club’s worst ever run at this level.
Currently sitting in 22nd place, an away win would be welcome for Barnsley but it seems highly unlikely with the pressure mounting on the manager. Scoring goals has been a real struggle thus far and they’ve only notched 16 goals, conceding 23 in the process. Remarkably, Johnson’s side have gone nearly 600 minutes without scoring from open play.
The Sky Blues will go in to the game without Reda Johnson and Ivor Lawton as both have been ruled out for the entirety of the 2015/16 campaign. Influential midfielder James Maddison still remains unavailable, although he is nearing a return.
Some unwanted news coming out of the club recently stated that defender Jordan Willis requires surgery on a knee injury and he’ll subsequently miss the next four months. One positive for the home side, however, is that Joe Cole could return to the squad after being rested during Saturday’s tie.
Barnsley are waiting on whether the key trio of Conor Hourihane, Ryan Williams and Marley Watkins will be available for the fixture as they have all been marked as ‘doubtful’. Kadeem Harris who is on loan from Cardiff City is a certaint absentee though after sustaining a fractured shin bone.
Daniel Crowley is no longer a Barnsley player after his loan from Arsenal was cut short so he won’t be featuring. Goalkeeper Adam Davies is also suffering from a groin tear so Nick Townsend will continue in between the posts.
Ones To Watch…
The 22 year old midfielder made the move to Oakwell in the January 2015 transfer window and he’s been a real star turn in an underachieving Barnsley side so far this season. Having made a strong start to the previous campaign at Wycombe Wanderers, Scowen attracted interest from various League One clubs but he opted for The Tykes.
Predominantly a right midfielder, the youngster has bags of pace and his ability on the ball is undeniable. His goal scoring exploits aren’t one of his main attributes, however, as he’s only scored 2 goals in 17 appearances in all competitions this term. Unbelievable energy is one of his main characteristics and he’ll be looking to play a part in getting his side’s season back on track.
The striker is a fairly well known name within the Football League sector and he could potentially cause Coventry some issues on Tuesday. Despite being in poor form of late, he has enough quality to spark fear in to any opposition and City’s defence will have to be wary despite him being devoid of confidence.
Following a superb 2013/14 season at Scunthorpe United whereby he notched 23 goals in 45 appearances, he joined Barnsley for an undisclosed fee. Although he hasn’t been so potent whilst at the club, he has become a fan favourite and they’ll be backing him to lift their club away from danger. The 24 year old is without a goal in the last six games, however, but he does have 5 goals to his name in all competitions.
“Barnsley have six or seven losses on the bounce and yet every game I have watched of Barnsley’s they have had chances and it’s about fine margins.”
“They have some good players and that run will end somewhere along the line.”
“We have to be mindful that they will be desperate to turn their form around.”
“Teams love to come to the Ricoh Arena and it can inspire and lift the opposition.”
View From The Opposition – Lee Johnson:
“It’s another tough game. We have to go to Coventry and cut out the mistakes. We have to dig in, we need to get a result. We’ve got to change the mentality and the mind-set now, the lads have to embrace where we are (in the league) and get out of it.”
“It’s a new month now and my aim has to be manager of the month. Coventry have certain areas we can exploit and we need to make sure our front boys are really up for it, as without doubt there is an opportunity there for them.”
“This is my worst losing run ever. My motivation doesn’t change, I still have my eyes on the prize and I need to make sure I pick the players up. The staff have been fantastic and they’re all feeling it as well, everyone wants us to do well.”
After Saturday’s second-half pulping of Peterborough we have every reason to be expectant going in to this one. Barnsley’s recent form is abysmal and we need to capitalise on their low confidence at the moment. We don’t want to be the team that allows them to stop the rot.
With the game giving us a chance to move within touching distance of top spot, the players will have extra incentive to put Johnson’s side to the sword. Defensively they look susceptible, and with an unreliable goalkeeper in between the sticks I can see us putting a few past him.
Again though, we can’t underestimate them and they do have a couple of decent players who can hurt teams. We’ve got to remain professional and not get complacent. The bookies will only be backing one side to win this, but football is a funny old game.
Saying that, we’ve been threatening to blow a team away all season with our velocity in attack and this could be the team we do it to. Their manager’s future is all up in the air at the moment and there’s a lot of pressure on him, if we get an early goal I think they’ll self destruct.
Our supporters have to be patient though as it’s highly likely that the away side will come to frustrate us, as Blackpool did last month. We may not break them down immediately but I’m very confident that we’ll win this game comfortably.
My Score Prediction
Coventry City 4-1 Barnsley