Valerien Ismael has suggested he will play his strongest side when Barnsley host Tranmere Rovers in the third round of the FA Cup.
Keith Hill’s mid-table League Two side are set to look for their club’s first-ever win at Oakwell tomorrow from 1.30pm.
There will be no replay, with the match settled by extra-time and penalties in the event of a draw.
Jordan Williams is back in training after a hamstring problem. His only appearance under Ismael was against Nottingham Forest on November 21 when he came on in injury-time.
Barnsley missed players for Covid-19 reasons last week but Brad Collins and Conor Chaplin are available, as will Alex Mowatt be if he tests negative following his isolation period, while George Miller is now injured.
Ismael told the Chronicle: “We will use the FA Cup game to prepare us for the next Championship game at home to Swansea City. We want to go through in the cup. We have to win this game.
“I want to put out the best players that I have. I don’t want to try anything different. We prepare in the same way as in the Championship.”
Barnsley have not won at home in the FA Cup third round or later since the week after Hill was sacked when they beat Burnley 1-0 thanks to Danny Rose’s late strike. That was their most recent progression to the fourth round until last season when Gerhard Struber’s side won at Crewe Alexandra in the third round then lost 4-2 at Portsmouth. Ismael’s first game in English football was for Crystal Palace in a 3-0 FA Cup win over Leicester City in January 1998, before he played in both legs of a fifth round tie with Arsenal that went to a replay.
He said: “We won against Leciester at home and it was my first game in England so it was a great feeling.
“In all the countries where I was, the cups are important, I won the cup in France and Germany.”
Tranmere have the worst record of any club at Oakwell. They have not won any of their 26 visits, losing 15 while scoring 18 goals with 50 conceded. Their manager Hill also has some unhappy memories, after being sacked as Reds boss there seven years ago, his returns with Rochdale brought defeats by scores of 5-0, 6-1 and 2-1.
Hill took over at Barnsley in 2011 and won 19 of 75 games, losing 41, before managing Rochdale and Bolton Wanderers.
Tranmere had won five successive games when Hill was appointed in November and he was victorious in his first three but they have won just one of their last five League Two games.
They are currently 13th in the fourth tier after their game at Colchester United was called off due to positive Covid-19 issues in both camps. Rovers travelled to Essex but the game was called off an hour before kick-off.
Ismael said: “I have seen some clips. They play football.
“They have a philosophy. You can see the formation and the principle out of possession and in possession. They have nothing to lose and they will come to win. We know we need a great performance to win.”
Attacking midfielder Otis Khan, who made three League One appearances from the bench in 2016 for Barnsley, signed for Tranmere in the summer after spells with Yeovil, Mansfield and Newport. He has not played since December 12.
Striker Stefan Payne, who made 12 goalless Reds appearances all from the bench in 2016 and 2017, has not played since October due to injury.
They also have Ollie Banks, the son of Barnsley legend Ian, as well as several former Premier League players including Jay Spearing – who started an FA Cup final for Liverpool – and ex-Everton man James Vaughan who is their top goal-scorer this season with 13 goals.
The two clubs have not met since the 2005/06 League One season when the promotion-bound Reds won home and away.