Cauley Woodrow is set to make his return to the Barnsley team tomorrow night against Preston North End.

Nine-goal Woodrow, the Reds’ joint top-scorer, has missed the last four games through a hamstring injury. Head coach Gerhard Struber said: “Cauley is ready, he is fit and he will be in the squad. I am in the exchange with the physiotherapy team about what is best for him. He has not played for three weeks so maybe it is too dangerous to start him. We will look for 20 or 30 minutes. This is enough for him and a big plus for my team.”

Defenders Bambo Diaby and Clarke Oduor were both injured for Saturday’s loss at Bristol City with knee and ankle problems respectively. Goalkeeper Sami Radlinger and Mike Bahre were also absent at Ashton Gate due to illness. Struber said Radlinger was set to be in contention for tomorrow while Oduor has a chance but Diaby and Bahre are likely to miss the match.

Struber said: “Bambo has problems. We must take no risks with him. Clarke has a problem with his ankle ligament but we test him in training and we hope he is ready for the game. Sami trained on Sunday. We hope that he is ready for tomorrow. It looks good. Mike is not ready yet. Many players have had problems with the flu. It’s a normal situation at this time of the year.”

The Reds are third-bottom, a point from safety although they could be four adrift if fourth-bottom Stoke City win at leaders West Bromwich Albion tonight.Preston are ninth, two points off the play-offs, after a 2-1 home win over Charlton Athletic on Saturday. They were third last month but have won just three of their last 12 games, scoring only eight goals in that time.

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North End have the best home record in the Championship, having collected 32 points from their 15 games at Deepdale, but their away record is the 18th best as they have won just twice in 13 attempts on their travels, the last being at Charlton on November 3.

The Lilywhites are currently the lowest away scorers in the Championship, having netted only eight goals on the road. They have netted just three away goals in eight games since October 1, one of which was a penalty.

Struber said: "I expect a very good team that have a very good organisation and work hard. They don’t have a special player but they work together and they press us very high.

“It’s a tough task. It’s not a situation when we can relax, we need every single player on the limit and I hope we can bring the same attitude and focus to our game like the last games then it will be very difficult for Preston.

“We will have no time or space but it’s important we find some and we get control of the ball then move it quickly in our transition. It’s always a good atmosphere at home and I hope we can bring a very big performance.”

Barnsley will hope to extend their five-game unbeaten run at Oakwell. They have not lost at home since the defeat to Stoke on November 9 and, if they do not lose to Preston, it will be the longest unbeaten home run in the Championship since six successive draws at the end of the 2016/17 season.

Barnsley's heaviest loss of the season came at Deepdale on October 5 when they were thrashed 5-1. Cameron McGeehan scored an equaliser against the run of play just before half-time but the Lilywhites netted four second half goals. Head coach Daniel Stendel was sacked two days later.

Struber said: “I know the result last time. It was a difficult game for Barnsley, but we have changed many things.”

Midfielder Kenny Dougall added: “Every match, you want to perform well but we also want to change the result from last time against them. I wasn’t fit when we played in Preston but it was pure disappointment after a quite humbling defeat. Now everything is a lot more organised. We know our roles a lot better and that’s shown on the pitch. There is a bit more discipline around the club. The boys are a lot more clear of what is expected.

"We’re disappointed with the game at Bristol. We dominate large spells of the game and missed a lot of good chances. On another day we could have walked away with three points.

“For most of the games this season we have done really well, but we have either not scored chances or conceded sloppy goals. That’s why we are in this position. The boys are all confident. We were eight points from safety and now it’s a point. We are in a good run, we had a slip-up but we need to get back to winning ways. We have dominated most games at Oakwell.”

Dougall says most of the players will watch Stoke’s game tonight. He said: “We will obviously watch it. It is important, they are a point ahead of us and the result is important. But it’s all about us, if we lose then it’s irrelevant what Stoke do. Mentally it would be a big step to get out of the bottom three, we haven’t been out for a long time now. But we know there is a long way to go.”

Preston are managed by Alex Neil who played 132 games for the Reds between 2000 and 2004. His returns to Oakwell as a manager have brought a loss with Norwich City in 2016 then a 0-0 draw with Preston the next year.

Midfielder Brad Potts, who left Barnsley for Preston a year ago, is yet to score this season which he has mostly spent on the substitutes bench. Another midfielder Ben Pearson, who spent two loan spells with the Reds at the start of his career, has played nearly every league game this season with his only goal coming in the win over Barnsley. But he missed Saturday's match through illness.