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Friday, February 20, 2009

Barnsley Preview

A disappointing week so far for the Addicks and that's without a ball being kicked. On Tuesday the likely trio of Doncaster, Watford and Barnsley all accelerated into the mid-table distance with wins over Bristol, Swansea and Wednesday while the only jokers in the Tuesday pack proved to be luckless Plymouth Argyle who lost yet again. One out of four is not really what we had in mind but at least the one loser was the one suffering the most from frightening form. Argyle, without a win since Boxing Day and sinking like the proverbial stone, continue to relentlessly close the gap to the Addicks with a 1-3 home reverse to Palarse. Never were we more pleased to see Warnock win.
And then on Wednesday Derby failed dismally to join in the fun and games in the struggling pack with an enormous 4-1 victory over 38 point Blackpool. Both now have the same points which cannot be said of Forest another team who have forgotten how to win after their four wins in a row with only a single point now from their last 4 games.
As for Barnsley, after stinging defeats to Southampton (h), Norwich (a), Ipswich (h) and Bristol (a), no less than five players were dropped and the newcomers turned it around with a 1-0 win at Hillsborough, their first game in February, and lifted them up to 18th place on 35 points and still with a game in hand over most of their fellow strugglers.
However, the Tykes remain a low scoring team with only 9 goals in their last 12 games ( even the Addicks have managed 12) with a total of only 30 goals in the fizzies - only 3 teams are worse - with the Addicks currently on 34. Another plus for us is that while the Addicks have only failed to score 9 times, Barnley are the worst non-scorers of the fizzies - along with hapless Plymouth - with a massive 14 games goalless games.
Current Form The Tykes were looking a bit rusty recently with only 2 wins in the previous eleven but a short trip over to Hillsborough on Tuesday certainly soon cured that. The recent run of four straight defeats was ended with a 1-0 win courtesy of "a moment of brilliance from Barnsley's Jamal Campbell-Ryce" according to the beeb and obviously showed that their three weeks rest - thanks to their game against Palarse called off because of snow and then the clash with the Blades postponed because of their cup tie with Hull - has done them a world of good.
Who They Got Then? Its the United Nations of Barnsley or is it the football equivalent of Noah’s Ark with a couple of players from 7 countries plus the odd one from Germany, Iran and Argentina tossed aboard at random while a stray couple from England also appear on the boarding list. Manager Simon Davey is certainly promoting a mixed bunch at Oakwell featuring a German goalkeeper, Heinz Müller; a Dutch right-back, Van Homoet; a Jamaican, Darren Moore, as well as the Brazilian Dennis Souza at centre-back; another Brazilian, De Silva in midfield along with the Moroccan Mounir El Haimour, the Argentine Hugo Colace, and the Spaniard Diego León. Ah, and the oddity of two Englishmen who both insist on being called Irish, midfielder Martin Devaney and striker Jon Macken. As for the statutory Englishmen they've the two defenders Bobby Hassell and Robert Kozluk.

Up front, joining Jon Macken are the Nigerian, Kayode Odejayi and Daniel Bogdanovic, a Maltese international born in Libya. To add to the cosmopolitan atmosphere, three new additions in the January window included Andranik Timotian, an Iranian midfielder from Fulham, the Maltese mosquito Michael Mifsud from Coventry and an Englishman, well scouser, Adam Hammill, a left winger from Liverpool.

DangerMan? Although without a goal in 8 the current top scorer is the Manchester-born Irishman Jon Macken on 6 but there's a bit of a drought going on as he's only scored twice in the last 14 games since he put two past us on November 1st in Barnsley's first ever win at the Valley. Sadly, then, after the recent arrival of the two Maltesers - internationals Bogdanovic and Mifsud - he only managed the bench on Tuesday. So forgetting Macken and these two potential bogeymen, ( at your peril, Parky) step up Jamal Campbell-Ryce to the role of this weeks Dangerman. After scoring the winner on Tuesday the ex-Addick winger Jamal Campbell-Ryce is also on 6 goals for the season and is eagerly ticking off the days till Saturday to add to his total much as he did in April last year at Oakwell. As least he can give a piece of hope to the six youngsters who have this week been released by the club as Campbell-Ryce becomes the latest player to prove what we have been missing. And a bit a bad luck already is that his ban for collecting 5 yellows is not operative until their next game against QPR.

What's Their Secret? Just like us they don't normally score first and 17 times out of 32 the opposition have gone in front, exactly the same figures as the Addicks. However, unlike the Addicks who still have not come from behind to win, Barnsley have done it twice against Watford and Doncaster both games ominiously at home. We were also equal on clean sheets before Tuesday - 6 for both teams - but with Wednesday failing to score on Tuesday its now 7 for the Tykes athough they've only had 2 in the last 17 games.
History The fact that we've only won twice at Oakwell since the war - the Second big one that is - will tell you that Barnsley is not particulary well liked by past Addicks. We've only won a total of 4 out of 21 at Oakwell and you have to go back 13 years to December '95 to find the last time we managed to get three points there.
In fact, since our double over them in 1993/94, we've only won 2 out of the last eleven games, that win at Oakwell in 1995 and a 3-1 home win in August 1999.
Overall we've winning this little encounter 17-14 which, incidentally, is one of only 8 ( out of 23) we are currently winning against the present members of the fizzies.
Team News The best thing after our Plymouth success would be an unchanged team but Deon Burton is one ruled out because of suspension after 5 yellows so expect his place on the bench to be given to Toddorov. Sorry, is that one "d" or two, I've quite forgotten.
One key member of the squad on Saturday will be Graeme Murty, tasked to tie up double-barreled star Campbell-Ryce and prevent his adding to his rapidly rising goal total but with the two new Maltese arrivals obviously enjoying their new club, Ward and Hudson will also be vitally important. And in these changing times it may interest you to know that while we may talk of revenge for their first ever victory at the Valley that we gave them back in November - 3 and a half months ago - they'll only probably be two players - (Hudson and Bailey) in the team tomorrow from the starting eleven that lost that day.

Elloit; Murty, Ward, Hudson, Youga; Soares, Racon, Spring, Bailey; Kandol, Dickson

Subs: Randolph, Basey, Shelvey, Holland, Toddy.

Summary Sorry, Parky but this would appear to be a must win game. A point would help while a defeat really cannot be contemplated and with other teams also improving we have to as well. Revenge is also in order after Novembers' sickening embarrassment. But the new loanees at the Tykes appear to working well and with that ex-factor winger currently on fire this game could be another one that gets away from us all too easily. Close your eyes Addicks, this may not be a happy sight.

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