PRESTON North End changing their manager this week makes tomorrow’s game ‘more difficult’ to prepare for but Poya Asbaghi is hoping for a first Barnsley win there.
The Lilywhites sacked Frankie McAvoy on Monday, and replaced him with Ryan Lowe, who moved from Plymouth Argyle.
McAvoy had been in his first full season in charge of a team having been assistant to former Barnsley midfielder Alex Neill who was sacked in March.
Preston are 18th in the table, 12 points clear of second-bottom Barnsley and nine outside of the relegation zone.
They have won just one of their last five games, losing three including a 1-0 defeat at Lancashire rivals Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
Asbaghi said: “Always when a team changes the coach in the week before the next game, it is more difficult to analyse.
“For us it’s even more important we concentrate more on us.
“We know a little bit about them but we are working on us. They will come out with energy and try to press us as home with a new manager.”
Asbaghi, having taken over at Oakwell three weeks ago, knows it is vital to make a fast impact. He said: “If you don’t know what you’re doing, it won’t take long until the players understand this and you will lose belief in the locker room and the whole club.”
Preston’s home form has been indifferent as, after a 4-1 thrashing by Hull on the opening day, they were unbeaten in seven at Deepdale, with four wins, before losing 2-1 to struggling Cardiff then drawing 1-1 with leaders Fulham.
The Reds are the only Championship side not to win away this season while the other EFL teams still waiting for a victory on their travels are Doncaster Rovers, Crewe Alexandra, Shrewsbury Town and Scunthorpe United.
Barnsley ended a run of five straight away losses with a 0-0 draw at Peterborough last week but they have just four points from ten games on the road.
They had 950 fans at Fulham and 1,208 at Peterborough.
Asbaghi said: “We had not won away, we were not on good form, and there was traffic chaos all over England with the weather, but still we had that many people at Peterborough.
“If they can come on that day, they will always be with us and that’s an encouraging thought. We want to encourage them as well and pay them back.”
This game is due to be Mads Andersen’s 100th for Barnsley. Romal Palmer is a doubt with a minor injury.
Preston have Brad Potts and Liam Lindsay, who helped Barnsley to promotion in the 2019/20 season.
Midfielder Potts – who played 67 Reds games from summer 2017 to January 2019 when he was sold to the Lilywhites for £1.5million – has made two league starts and 11 substitute appearances this season. He has not played for a month.
Lindsay made 90 appearances for Barnsley before moving for a reported £2.5million in summer 2019 to Stoke City who rarely played him and loaned him to Preston earlier this year. The Scottish centre-back made the move permanent in the summer then started the first three games of the season before spending two and a half months on the bench or out of the squad. He has returned to the 11 for the last two games.
This will be the 61st meeting of the clubs. Barnsley have won 21 and lost 25.
Their only victory in the last seven meetings was last season at Oakwell – almost a year to the day on December 15 – when substitute Victor Adeboyejo got the late winner after Alex Mowatt had cancelled out Sean Maguire’s second-minute opener. They won just two of 18 trips to Preston in the 20th century, mostly pre Second World War, but triumphed six times in ten visits between 2000 and 2016, with the most recent win being by a 2-1 scoreline thanks to goals by Sam Winnall and Adam Armstrong.
They then drew 1-1 the following season – with a goal by Potts – before a harrowing 5-1 loss in October 2019 which prompted the sacking of Daniel Stendel and a 2-0 defeat in their final away league match of last season with the play-offs already assured.