BARNSLEY’S ‘struggling’ players need the support of the fans when third-placed Bournemouth visit today, says coach Ferran Sibila.
The Reds are bottom of the Championship, eight points from safety, while they are now on a second winless league run this season which has reached double figures. No EFL side have fewer points, wins or goals this season.
Bournemouth are third in the Championship, eight points off leaders Fulham and three away from the top two, after winning just two of their last ten league matches.
Poya Asbaghi has not won any of his first eight league games, which is the longest wait of any Barnsley boss since Tim Ward in 1953. His eight league games have brought three draws, five losses and four goals.
It is unknown whether he will be in the dugout after testing positive for Covid-19, having missed Tuesday’s 3-0 loss at Nottingham Forest.
Assistant Ferran Sibila, who has been taking the team this week, said: “We need the fans’ support. The players are struggling a lot, they are frustrated not to win games so every positive support from the crowd they receive helps them and gives them an extra percentage of confidence to turn this situation around.
“Bournemouth are a good team. When they have the ball they try to have a lot of players running behind the back line and overlap the full-backs with crosses. They are really good with the pressing, they are very organised and have a lot of speed. We will need to be good against that.”
The Cherries did not lose any of their first league 15 games this season, with 11 wins and nine clean sheets, which left them five points clear at the top and nine clear in the automatic promotion places at the end of October. That gap was whittled away as they did not win in six matches. They won their last two of 2021 before losing 3-2 at Luton then 1-0 at home to Hull City on Saturday.
They have the second-best away record in the Championship with 25 points from 14 games and the best defence on the road with ten goals conceded.
The teams have met 45 times, with Barnsley winning 17 and losing 15.
The Reds’ only victory in the last eight meetings was the 3-2 success at Dean Court last March which helped them secure a place in the play-offs. They have not scored in five of the other six most recent meetings, including a 3-0 loss in Dorset in September in which they did not have a shot. Bournemouth have not conceded in their last four visits to Oakwell since Chris Lumsden’s late equaliser in a 1-1 draw in 2004. They won 4-0 at Oakwell in December last year.