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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Barnsley Preview

Shock, horror, a lucky point at Ipswich when we seemed dead and buried and we've now gone 2 games without losing and in both we've come back from the brink and got a point. Who can understand this team? Early in the season we'd score first and then collapse but now we start badly and don't wake up to what's going on till the last 20 minutes.
And there's more baffling news from the Ipswich manager Jim Magilton re Tuesdays game, "We had enough chances to win three games. If you don't take them, at one nil, it's always pretty precarious."
And then the baffling bit, "They have quality...."
A strange remark that will confound many at the Valley but if true you might be tempted to ask what the hell we're doing in 20th place but then I'm sure that most people could give us a reason.
So Barnsley next and its a must win game, not only from our point of view but for both teams because believe it or not here we are with a relegation six pointer and it's only November! And with Pards seemingly eager to walk to the block with his determination to give Varney yet another chance, I for one wouldn't give much hope for his head avoiding the block if we were to lose this one.
So what's our chances? Barnsley are the lowest scoring away team ( along with QPR) with just 2 goals in 7 games. Even the Addicks have now scored three times away from fortress valley. For the Tykes it's just 1 win, 1 draw and 5 defeats on the road, although it must be said that their only win was in their last game, 1-0, this week at Doncaster.
So they can't score away from home but down the other end, they've conceded only 11 on their travels, with 8 teams, even Wolves, having let in more goals away from home. They've also kept 5 clean sheets in all 13 fizzy games so far whilst the Addicks defence can only claim 3. But the clincher is their failure to score. Whilst Wolves lead the table with just 1 failure to score in 13 games, Barnsley are rock bottom in a listing of Fizzy non-scorers with 8 games from 13 that they have finished without scoring. Even the Addicks only have a total of 5 non-scoring games.
Goes without saying then that their favorite scoreline has to be 0-0, 3 in all, but promisingly they'd already had two defeats in London - 1-2 to QPR on the opening day and 0-3 to Palarse 2 weeks ago.
But there is some bad news 'cause they are improving and are now unbeaten in 3 games - with wins over Sheff. Wed at home and Doncaster away, either side of a credible 0-0 at home to Bristol City - and only have 1 defeat, that at Palarse in their last 5. And over the last 8, they've won three while the Addicks have only won 1 and while the Addicks have lost 4 in that period, they have only lost twice.
And while we scratch around waiting for Luke to score, the Tykes already have a proven goalscorer in number 7, the 24 year old Canadian international from Edinburgh, Iain Hume with 4 fizzy goals this season. Hume was a £1.2M buy in the summer and is ex of Leicester and Tranmere where he scored over thirty goals for each. It took him just 5 minutes to score on his debut at QPR in August and Pards, he needs to be watched carefully. And, of course, there's an ex-Addick Campbell-Ryce just waiting to score at the Valley to complete his own double of the year after scoring against us at Barnsley in April.
And if you were expecting a group of tough Yorkshire no-hopers, think again. In the team against Doncaster on Tuesday were a German goalkeeper, a couple of Brazilians, a couple of Jamaicans, an Argentine, a couple of Irish, the Canadian/Scot striker with just two Englishmen at fullback. A mixed bunch then but a team that although below us in the table needs taking very seriously.

The history couldn't be more comforting, unless of course, you're the nervous type. Barnsley after 21 visits to the Valley have never won and avoided defeat just 7 times, losing the remaining 13. But, of their last 8 visits to the Valley going back 17 years, they've only lost twice with no less than 6 draws.
One of their draws was of course last season. After ZiZi put us ahead with 8 minutes to go they equalised in the dying seconds and then midfielder Grant McCann missed a sitter in injury time and they will also be encouraged by the 3-0 win they had over us at Oakwell last April, with Campbell-Ryce scoring after just 11 minutes.
Team News -
First of all its an open letter to Pardew. I was wondering how to explain this to you, Pards, so I'll come out straight. The boy Varney needs a rest. No, he's not going to tell you, they never do that but if it's upsetting his confidence that you're worried about, don't worry, he already hasn't got any, last Tuesday proved that. Put him on the bench and let him hear the cheers when you bring him on because its obvious that the fans, despite everything, like him. And when you tell him, he'll probably thank you because the pressure that you are putting him under is not doing him any good, or the team. You only have to see what happens when we concede; they know they're beaten 'cause they have a striker that they know is not going to score. So do everyone a favour and start with somebody else.
OK, the team. Pards has already said that "I'll have to pick a side on Saturday which I feel will show more offensively than they did at Ipswich. Defensively I have no complaints. We were a bit erratic on occasions, but we put our lives on the line in the box, defended well and the goalkeeper was brilliant. So we'll take those positives into Saturday." So with that in mind, probably means 2 strikers ( Todorov and you know who) and 2 wide men (Sam and Bouazza). Bailey in the middle with.....Josh Wright.

The Team: Weaver; Moutaouakil, Hudson, Cranie, Youga; Sam, Bailey, Wright, Bouazza; Todorov and DICKSON.

Prediction -

Just when you thought we had touched bottom and couldn't drop any further Barnsley come calling. Never won at the Valley have Barnsley but they came close last time and I'm praying that Varney ( 'cause of course he's playing) will at last find out where the goal is. Back in July I forecast a draw ( as did Frankie) while 99% of the other forecasters on CAFC Picks forecast a win. I just hope I was wrong as was Toby Jones, the only one of 37 fans to see a defeat.....This is a game the team cannot afford to lose, and neither can Pardew's head.....

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