A look at the likely 11 to start for Swansea City at Oakwell on Monday in the first leg of the Championship play-offs.
Considered among the better goalkeepers in the Championship, the Newcastle United loanee is one of several players borrowed by Steve Cooper through his connections in the England youth setup. Woodman, 24, was outstanding at Oakwell at January, with several saves including a remarkable touch to deny Callum Brittain his first Barnsley goal.
The 20-year-old Wales international came through the Swansea youth system and recently passed 50 games for the club. He scored at Oakwell in January but is not guaranteed to start there on Monday as he has missed games recently following a breach of Covid-19 rules. The other option is experienced defender Kyle Naughton.
The 31-year-old centre-back played more than 100 Premier League games for Norwich and Wolves before moving to Swansea last season.
Another star youngster on loan from a Premier League club after working with Cooper in the England youth teams. The 20-year-old is on loan from Chelsea for the second season and has been linked with moves to other Premier League clubs after shining for the Swans.
Like Barnsley, the Welsh club have two excellent wing-backs who are key to their strategy.
Right wing-back Roberts has five goals and seven assists this season, in which he has played in every league game, while he is in the top ten for blocked crosses. The Welsh international’s long throws caused Barnsley problems in the league meetings.
Five years ago today, Hourihane was captaining Barnsley to a 3-0 first leg win in a League One play-off semi-final against Walsall. He would eventually lift the trophy at Wembley – weeks after doing the same with the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – then excel in the Championship and earn a move to Aston Villa where he became an Irish international and Premier League regular. Easily one of the most popular Barnsley players of recent decades, Hourihane is remembered fondly for moments such as a last-minute equaliser against Sheffield United and a stunning free-kick past Leeds. He was part of a Barnsley side who had a very similar first half of the season to the current team before being dismantled in the January window.
He joined Swansea in January and scored four goals in his first five matches as they powered into the top two.
But he has netted just once since in an up-and-down spell, with some fans criticising him for ‘going missing’ in big games.
He is now likely to come up against his eventual replacement as Barnsley’s midfield maestro and captain Alex Mowatt.
The central midfielder is in the league’s top ten for passes and tackles, while his corner was headed into the Barnsley net by Reds forward Victor Adeboyejo in December. He is a former team-mate of Mowatt at Leeds United.
The Scottish midfielder, who has been with Swansea for seven years, plays in front of the defence and allows others to go forwards.
He has made the third most tackles in the division this season, behind Barnsley’s Callum Styles and Reading’s Omar Richards.
Another option in the middle is former Barnsley loanee Korey Smith who joined from Bristol City last summer.
Swansea’s left wing-back is in the Championship’s top ten for assists this season with eight. The 28-year-old is approaching his 300th game at this level for Brentford, QPR and now the Swans. Ryan Manning is an alternative.
The pacy forward has 14 goals for Swansea this season, including two against Barnsley.
He netted in the first minute in Wales after poor defending from a set piece then came from an offside position a month later at Oakwell to punish Mads Andersen and Michal Helik for a bad mix-up. Lowe has played every game this season and is in the league’s top ten for both fouls and offsides, with the latter number likely to rise as he will constantly be trying to beat Barnsley’s offside trap as he did in December when terrorising Michael Sollbauer. He was relegated with Wigan last season, with the Reds surviving at their expense, while he has made his way up from non-league football via Portsmouth where he played with Conor Chaplin.
Swansea’s 18-goal top-scorer was signed for £20million, probably more than the Reds have paid for their entire 11, and is a 92-cap Ghana international who played in the top flights in France and England before being relegated with the Swans. The 31-year-old has netted just two in his last ten but will be on the hunt for another Oakwell goal after scoring there last season.