Bradford City vs Barnsley preview
@Valley Parade on Tuesday 26 January, 2016
By Nathan Evans
After a week of action both on and off the field for Phil Parkinson’s men, focus now turns to tonight’s match up against mid-table Yorkshire rivals Barnsley.
Coming into this tie Bradford City’s recent form has been somewhat up and down of late with a couple of poor league results over the Christmas period, coupled with that loss on penalties in the FA Cup against Bury. However, after a battling second half performance we came away from Vale Park with a 1-1 draw on Saturday, not an easy feat considering Lee Evans was sent off in the 50th minute, and that Port Vale have only lost once at home all season in League One.
Tonight we welcome a team that have struggled on the whole this season but have won their last four matches, netting 15 times in the process which is only eleven short of how many we’ve scored all season, quite the surprising stat.
Winning 6-1 against Rochdale on Saturday, Barnsley come into this game on fire in terms of league form; however, they’re a team that like to concede the odd goal or two as well. Currently sitting 17th in the table, Barnsley have conceded 42 times this term and if Rory McArdle and company can keep their forwards quiet like they have regularly this season, we should realistically take another three points.
Barnsley are one of those sides that we don’t like to play. In our last ten games against our Yorkshire rivals, we’ve only managed to overcome them once, winning 1-0 at Valley Parade at the back end of last season. After playing them twice this season we’re still without a win. Back in August we struggled to a 0-0 draw with the Tykes at Oakwell in a game we were lucky not to lose as Marley Watkins rattled the woodwork in injury time. Whilst at Valley Parade in October, Barnsley were 2-1 victors in a Football League Trophy clash coming from behind after an early Billy Knott strike.
If City want to win this game, it is key that the defence stop Barnsley forward Sam Winnall. The 25 year old has once again been in fantastic goal scoring form so far this season, scoring 14 goals for the South Yorkshire club as well as assisting on five occasions. Fast and agile, Winnall usually converts the chances he gets in front of goal.
After his early dismissal on Saturday, Lee Evans will now have to serve a three match ban for violent conduct; meaning Parkinson has a decision to make for the match against Barnsley in the centre of the park. In my opinion the boss has two clear options in regards to replacing the missing Welsh midfielder. He can either resort to his second half line up at Port Vale as to where Tony McMahon slotted into the middle of the park, or he can instead go more attacking and start with Billy Knott.
After his inclusion from the bench on Saturday Mark Marshall, whom set up Procter’s equaliser, will be looking for a starting place alongside Kyel Reid on the wings. Following the loss of Devante Cole to Fleetwood in the week – a move many fans are still unsure of – expect new man Jamie Proctor to start again as Hanson is still struggling with a knock.
With both Peterborough and Sheffield United playing on Tuesday against difficult opposition in Burton and Blackpool respectively, our match against Barnsley is crucial considering it is one of the games in hand we have on a few of the teams already occupying the play off positions, Coventry and Wigan most notably. With a gap to overcome if City want to achieve a top six finish, these are the type of games where nothing less than a win will be good enough.