The match will be 48 days after Forest lost 1-0 at Oakwell on July 19, in the Reds’ final home game of last season. Patrick Schmidt netted a 94th-minute winner to keep Barnsley’s chances of staying up alive before another injury-time winner at Brentford three days later secured survival.
Forest were five points clear in the top six with two games left but lost at Oakwell then missed out on the play-offs as they were thrashed 4-1 at home to Stoke City in their final game. Head coach Struber said: “I can remember the last game, we dominated and then we had a big victory.
“Saturday is a completely other situation in the Carabao Cup. It is a big big pre-season friendly game. It is an interesting cup but the Championship is the most important thing. This game is for players to show me a very good picture. The first 11 for our first game against Luton (the first league match on September 12) is not clear.
“On Saturday everyone has the chance to show me what they can do. Forest is a very good and big opponent. It will be helpful for the development of our style of football.”
Schmidt and defender Aapo Halme will miss tomorrow’s game due to international duty while Ben Williams and Romal Palmer are not fit and Bambo Diaby remains suspended during an investigation into an alleged doping violation. Barnsley player Callum Styles knows the cup tie is not as important as the league games but would like the Reds to go on a long run in the competition.
He said: “If we do get a good cup run it will be good for the fans and for us if we can draw a big Premier League club and have the experience of playing against them. It’s all a progression to the first league game. We have had two pre-season friendlies then this cup game. There is pressure on this game to get absolutely ready for the start of the Championship.
“Our last game against them was a big moment and gave us the confidence that we could stay up at Brentford. We battered them all game and hopefully we can do that again. We have proven that we can beat them so we have nothing to be worried about. We’re obviously going to go out to win but our main focus is on the league.”
This summer, Forest have signed striker Lyle Taylor, who netted 11 goals in 22 Championship appearances for Charlton Athletic last season, and who could form a formidable strikeforce with last season’s 20-goal top-scorer Lewis Grabban. They have recruited more Championship experience in free transfers midfielder Jack Colback from Newcastle United and defender Tyler Blackett from Reading as well as a loan for midfielder Luke Freeman from Premier League Sheffield United.
Star player Matty Cash moved to Premier League Aston Villa for £16million this week. The winner of tomorrow’s match will go into the second round in the week commencing September 14, then the third and fourth rounds will be played later in the month.
Barnsley and Forest have beaten each other 31 times in their 84 meetings but have never met in the League Cup. The Reds have not had much success in this cup in recent seasons. They lost 3-0 at home to League Two Carlisle United last season and 3-1 at fellow League One club Blackpool the year before.
In 2017, they won at home to Morecambe and Derby County to set up a third round tie at Wembley against Tottenham Hotspur, with England star Dele Alli getting the only goal. That is the only time they have been past the second round since 2009 when they lost to Manchester United in the fourth round.
Their only other victories in the competition in the last ten seasons were two home penalty shoot-out wins over Scunthorpe United and a 4-3 extra-time success at Rochdale in 2012. The match at Spotland – in which future England star John Stones netted his only Reds goal – was the last time that the EFL Cup began before the league season, which was delayed that year so it did not clash with the London Olympics.
Between 1976 and 1980, the season started with a two-legged first-round tie for clubs from Division Three and Four and a handful from the second tier. The Reds progressed to round two in three of those five seasons, beating York City (1976/77), Lincoln City (1979/80) and Scunthorpe United (1980/81). But, in both 1977/78 and 1978/79, they were eliminated by Chesterfield.