BARNSLEY are hoping to cause a ‘big surprise’ today when they visit Fulham who have won their last six games and are the top-scorers in English football.
The second-bottom Reds are the only side not to win away in the Championship this season while no team has fewer than their five goals on the road.
Barnsley, who are four points from safety, have lost four successive away games for the first time since losing six in a row at the end of the 2017/18 season.
The Cottagers are second in the table, two points behind leaders Bournemouth and six clear in the automatic promotion places.
“We’re playing against normally a Premier League team and one of the best teams in this league,” said careraker Jo Laumann, who will become an assistant to new head coach Poya Asbaghi from Monday.
“But everyone dreams of these games, playing away in a nice stadium against a big team.
“It will be very exciting to win the game and make a big surprise.”
He added: “When you play against a high-quality team, you work on being intense, compact and good in transition.
“We have tried in the last weeks to travel as a team with the ball into the last third. But we still work hard off the ball.”
Fulham went into the previous international break having won just two of their last seven games, and had just been thrashed 4-1 at Coventry City.
But they then won all six games between the second and third breaks of the season, keeping clean sheets in the last five and scoring 21 goals including a 7-0 win at Blackburn Rovers.
They have won their last four home games since suffering their only defeat there this season to Reading in September.
Having spent two of their last three seasons in the Premier League, Fulham’s squad is likely to have been bought for more than £100million combined. They are the only Championship club to have paid more than £5million for players last summer after bringing in Harry Wilson for £13million and Rodrigo Muniz for £7million.
Fulham are the highest scorers in the top seven divisions of English football, by ten goals, with 44 – while top-scorer Aleksandar Mitrovic has 20 in 17 starts.
Laumann said: “We respect the quality of Mitrovic and the amount of goals he has already but we have good defenders who can match him in duels.
“I am very confident they will have a good game and it’s a good challenge to play, at the minute, the top striker in the league.
“It’s not only about him, Fulham will put a very good team on the pitch.”
Former Barnsley captain Alfie Mawson has mainly been a substitute for Fulham this season, starting once and coming off the bench in five other games.
Barnsley have played Fulham 82 times, winning 33 and losing 26.
The Reds had not beaten the London club in six attempts since 2000 before they did the double against the Fulham side that would get promoted in the 2019/20 season, winning 1-0 at Oakwell on the opening day then 3-0 at Craven Cottage in February.
Laumann said: “It’s always good to know you can do it.
“We have a lot of respect for Fulham but we can beat anyone and it’s up to us to make a statement.”
Barnsley captain Cauley Woodrow, who previously played for Fulham, netted two goals in that shock away win for the Reds who were bottom and nine points adrift of safety before launching a ‘great escape’. That was one of three victories for Barnsley at Fulham in 18 attempts since 1947 with the others being in 1981 and 1999.