Stoke City visit Barnsley at Oakwell in an early relegation six pointer as Michael O’ Neil takes charge of the Potters for the first time since his appointment this week.
One point currently separates the pair at the bottom where a win will lift Stoke above the Tykes, whereas Barnsley could move to within potentially two points of safety with victory.
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Jordan Williams is Barnsley’s only absentee with a calf injury, which has kept him out of their last four matches.
Stoke could have Lee Gregory available up front after a knee injury kept him out of Monday’s defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
Scott Hogan meanwhile is a doubt with an undisclosed injury along with Tom Edwards (hip).
Captain, Ryan Shawcross remains the Potters’ only long-term absentee with an ankle injury.
Barnsley are unbeaten in four of their last six but drew in those four games and remain winless since beating Fulham on the opening weekend, although they have scored in their last seven games of which two of their three 2-2 results came at home.
Stoke meanwhile are currently on a three-match losing streak in which they have conceded five without scoring, although they have taken four points from their last four away games (W1, D1, L2).
- Barnsley have taken six points from their last four meetings with Stoke (W1, D3).
- The last two meetings between these teams at Oakwell have ended in high scoring draws, finishing 2-2 in September 2006 then 3-3 in December 2007.
- Barnsley’s 14 league match winless run is their worst run of form this decade.
Defence has been the Achilles heel of both teams this season because they are as bad as each other, which should therefore make for an entertaining game here as far as defending is concerned.
Barnsley’s attack however is the more consistent despite their defensive deficiencies, especially given that they have scored in their last seven games so have to surely be favourites for the win here.
Stoke however need to show some signs of promise and put what they have already learned from O’ Neil into practice here, although I don’t think it will be enough for the win unfortunately.
Prediction: Barnsley 2-1 Stoke City
Result: Barnsley 2-4 Stoke City