Liam Lawrence still has the matchball in his house from Stoke City’s last trip to Oakwell – a 3-3 draw at Oakwell on Boxing Day 2007 – and hopes his two former clubs serve up another classic tomorrow. 

Lawrence’s goals were all equalisers after the Reds took the lead three times while he netted two penalties including one in the 98th minute. 

He said: “I have still have the matchball. Barnsley played really well and we were lucky to get away with a point. I remember scoring the last penalty, celebrating in front of the Barnsley fans then someone threw a 2p coin into my head which really hurt.”

Lawrence played 125 games in a four-year spell with Stoke while he only spent six months at Oakwell, playing 14 matches under Danny Wilson in the second half of the 2013/14 season which saw the Reds relegated. He said: “I had been playing in Greece and thought trying to keep Barnsley up would be a good challenge. They had a really good core of lads at the time but there were also some people who just didn’t want to be there and weren’t bothered about the club.  “We tried to turn it around but it was a very difficult time and I was gutted to go down.”

Lawrence, who lives in the Stoke area and watches their games regularly, said of tomorrow’s match between the bottom two: “It’s a massive game. Both sides desperately need the points so hopefully it’s a good game. “A lot of people around Stoke have a lot of anxiety about this game. “No one expected them to be in the relegation zone this season but Nathan Jones just didn’t work as a manager and now they have a lot of work to do to get out of the situation they are in.”  

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Lawrence was a club-mate of Barnsley caretaker manager Adam Murray at Mansfield Town. He said: “I have known Muzza for years. He came in on loan to Mansfield from Derby to replace me after I broke my arm in a car accident. He’s a good young coach and he has been given a huge opportunity to be the manager of a Championship club.”