MILLWALL, home, June 27What an odd spectacle this return to Oakwell is likely to be, with just a few score people in the echoing stadium in June for a 1pm kick-off.This game was scheduled for March 17, two years exactly from Millwall’s 2-0 win in their snowy last trip to Oakwell which was a key result in Barnsley’s 2017/18 relegation and was followed by a 29-game unbeaten home run for the Reds in league matches.Barnsley will look to complete their third ‘double’ of the season – to add to two wins each over Hull City and Fulham – following their 2-1 Christmas week victory thanks to Patrick Schmidt’s injury-time header at The Den.The Lions are eighth, two points off the play-offs.This match could bring a first return to Oakwell for ex-Red Tom Bradshaw who has ten goals this season for Millwall.
BLACKBURN, home, June 30This 6pm Tuesday kick-off will be a third straight game against a side who restarted the season with a chance of the top six.Blackburn are tenth, just three points behind their Lancashire neighbours Preston North End who are in the last play-off place. Gerhard Struber’s first game as Barnsley head coach was a 3-2 loss at Ewood Park in November, when Conor Chaplin and Cauley Woodrow both netted equalisers but Bradley Dack struck an 86th-minute winner.Manager Tony Mowbray will be hoping to avoid a fourth successive loss at Oakwell, while his squad contains ex-Reds such as 11-goal top-scorer Adam Armstrong, Joe Rothwell and Harry Chapman.Barnsley’s double over Blackburn in 2016/17 provided their only wins in the fixture in 11 meetings since 2000.
STOKE CITY, away, July 4This is due to be Barnsley’s first competitive game in July and it will be a year and a day after their first friendly in the 2019 pre-season. It is the start of a run of three matches against sides who, for most of the season, had joined the Reds in the bottom four.Stoke manager Michael O’Neill was appointed one game earlier than Gerhard Struber – that match being a 4-2 November win at Oakwell – and has collected 34 points compared to the Austrian’s 25, although many would point to Stoke’s better-paid squad with more experience and proven quality.The Potters have climbed to 17th but are only three points clear of the drop zone and a poor start after lockdown could see them back in major trouble before Barnsley make their first trip to Stoke since a goalless draw in September 2007. The Reds have never conceded a league goal at the Bet365 Stadium.
LUTON TOWN, away, July 7The Hatters have used the lockdown break to change manager, reappointing Nathan Jones who took them up from League Two in 2018 then laid the groundwork for a second successive promotion before last year’s move to Stoke City, where he lasted ten months. He replaces his namesake Graeme Jones who was appointed last summer but guided them to second-bottom and six points off safety before lockdown. Whereas Barnsley’s last trip to Kenilworth Road was a top-of-the-table clash in 2019, this is set to be a basement battle between two sides who could be already relegated, or very nearly, if they have started poorly after lockdown. Luton thrashed Barnsley at Oakwell in August but will not have their usual hostile crowd for this midweek clash.
WIGAN ATHLETIC, home, July 11This match, rescheduled from Easter Monday, is set to bring the return of Kieffer Moore whose goals fired Barnsley into the Championship before he watched their opening game of this season from the Oakwell stands as he was on the verge of a £4million move to the Latics.After failing to score in his first 12 league games until December, he has netted six times in his most recent 15.Wigan finished 2019 on a 13-game winless run and bottom of the Championship but, this calendar year, they have the fourth most points with 21 from 12 games which have brought six victories.Before lockdown, they were unbeaten in six league games, while they had not conceded in four.
LEEDS UNITED, away, July 15The short trip to Elland Road has brought the thousands of Reds fans who make the journey every season plenty of misery but they always travel with hopes of a glorious victory which, sometimes, are realised. They will have to watch this Tuesday evening fixture from home as will the Whites supporters whose long wait for a return to the top flight could be ended by this point or, to the horror of Barnsley, on this day. Marcelo Bielsa’s leaders are seven points clear in the automatic promotion places but were given a scare by Barnsley at Oakwell earlier in the season before winning 2-0. The Reds would love to be the ultimate party-poopers and potentially deny their bitter rivals Leeds promotion at a ground that would usually be full to capacity with home supporters. Alex Mowatt’s first return to Leeds will be with no fans.NOTTS FOREST, home, July 18The usual traditions of a final home game of the season, like the Player of the Year awards and a post-game lap of honour, will likely be done away with in an empty stadium which, had the game gone ahead as planned, would have contained a large and raucous away following.Barnsley’s final two opponents – Forest and Brentford – are each four points clear of the sides outside the top six and six off the top two. The Reds will be hoping that they are certain of a play-off place by the time these fixtures arrive, meaning they may lack full motivation and make changes with the semi-finals and final likely to be played soon after. After the top two, Forest currently have the best away record in the division with 32 of their 60 points arriving on the road.
BRENTFORD, away, July 22This match may no longer be the last fixture played at Brentford’s Griffin Park, which is a blessing for Bees fans who would hate to have to say goodbye to their long-term home through a TV screen. Their move to the new Lionel Road ground is likely to be delayed after construction was scaled back due to lockdown. Griffin Park may still host Premier League football as Brentford are currently fourth.The Bees – who won 3-1 at Oakwell in September – are joint top-scorers and have conceded the second fewest goals, thanks in part to former Barnsley star centre-back Ethan Pinnock.