Barnsley travel to the Bristol Rovers this weekend where they will play at the Memorial Stadium, a ground where the Tykes have struggled in recent years. Despite the hosts picking up four points across the last two home meetings against the visitors, Barnsley are still the favourite.
The Pirates and their boss Joey Barton will be devastated after a 92nd equaliser prevented them from perfecting the ultimate away performance against Portsmouth last weekend. Luke Thomas opened the scoring in the 24th minute in a half that witnessed three bookings for each team and eight minutes of additional time. Bristol Rovers soaked up the continuous Pompey pressure and it looked like they may just walk away with a 1-0 win and three points, but Kusini Yengi came off the bench to ruin the Pirates party.
This weekend they will face the side who showed how clinical they can be in front of goal if they’re given the opportunities. Therefore, despite Bristol Rovers hosting the game, a similar defensive set up is expected with the first priority of stopping the opposition and then attempting to catch them out on the counter attack. If Barton does opt for a more attacking, proactive approach, then they could be pulled apart by the extremely talented Barnsley squad who are full of confidence.
Barnsley scored an astonishing seven goals last weekend against Port Vale, showing just how ruthless they are in front of goal, especially when the opposition allows them space in transition. Neil Collins’ side were only 2-0 up at half time but the performance didn’t actually foreshadow what would unfold in the second half. Devante Cole opened the scoring in the 23rd minute and he successfully completed his hattrick by the 53rd minute which gave Barnsley a four goal lead. The Tykes added a further three goals before full time and incredibly only registered 12 shots all game.
Barnsley have set their standards early and Neil Collins’ will demand a similar performance this weekend, but they will be prepared to face a Bristol Rovers side who have shown they are difficult to breakdown. Therefore, it is important that Barnsley start quickly and silence the crowd at the Memorial Stadium, if the Tykes do start slowly however, they may be in for a long afternoon.
Barnsley are expected to win this game but as mentioned earlier, the Memorial Stadium has proven to be a difficult place to visit over the years and I predict that their creativity will be tested on Saturday. Bristol Rovers will hold their own for spells, but Barnsley will just steal the three points.
The final prediction is Bristol Rovers 0-1 Barnsley.