In the run up to this Saturday’s sure to be postponed South Yorkshire derby we were approached by Wilky to answer a few questions on the game for his Barnsley blog On The Ponty End. We obliged, because we’re nice like that, but not before taking the opportunity to ask Ian to reciprocate and enable us to give a second outing for our T’Other Side u’t’ Fence feature. So here are the thoughts from across the Dearne Valley ahead of Saturday’s game.
Website: Barnsley FC Blog | On The Ponty End
Stand of choice at Oakwell:
Over the last decade or so, it’s been the Ponty End (Pontefract Road End), aka the Ora Stand, the Enterprise Stand or the CK Beckett Stand. It has a great atmosphere in derby matches and in particular those mid-week evening matches.
How do you feel about Saturday’s game?
Quietly confident. The lads were under par in their last match against Watford and only got in to their stride in the last quarter of the game. I’m sure they will have felt disappointed with a draw and their performance and will be going to the Keepmoat to set things right. Mark Robins likes to talk about the so-called Yorkshire League quite a lot and I’m sure he will have them focussed on gaining these precious local spoils before the Blunts game.
How do you view Barnsley’s season thus far?
Inconsistent. But then again, in this league which fan is not going to say a similar thing about their own side? Compared to our pre-season expectations, our position and points tally probably match them; but you always look to the games where you feel you should have done better.
Where do you think the Barnsley team is strongest?
Presently, when it clicks, our midfield can boss a game. Hugo Colace and Nathan Doyle have a knack of closing the options down for the opposition whilst Jim O’Brien and the man-of-the-moment, Adam Hammill give us that width and creativity to build attacking momentum.
What do you view the weak point of Barnsley as being?
I’ve been asked this before and have not yet been able to underline my point. On paper, it should be our defence, which at present has become increasingly threadbare. However, with just two goals conceded in the last four outings, the re-jig of resources seems to be working, due largely to the versatility of ‘Sir’ Bobby Hassell.
Who’s the key player the Rovers should be daunted by?
I’m bound to say Adam Hammill and I’ll keep my answer that simple. Focus on Adam, not around Adam, but on him and let some of our other talent do the business instead.
Which Doncaster player are you most wary of?
Probably James Coppinger. He seems to hurt to teams regularly with his assists and goals.
Who is Barnsley’s current team scapegoat?
Luke Steele has a habit of copping the grief and he has had a few off-days this season. On balance he has also made some tremendous saves to ensure maximum points in others. For this reason, it’s perhaps unfair to label him as the scapegoat, but very few (if any) seem to get the finger pointed at them quite as much.
Are you happy with Mark Robins?
Yes. Definitely. There are few managers in the Championship who would cope as well as Robins with the budget constraints he is working to. He has the respect of the team and the supporters. He’s straight talking, tells it like it is and is ambitious. We just hope for our sake that Mark Robins is happy with Barnsley FC for some time to come.
Song/Chant to listen out for?
Adam Hammill is a Red, is a Red, is a Red,
Adam Hammill is a Red,
He HATES Leeds scum!!
Finally, a match prediction?
I fancy our chances at the Keepmoat and will go for an away win; 1-2 with O’Connor & O’Brien on the score-sheet.