POYA Asbaghi knows Barnsley owe the roughly 300 fans who have made the long trip to Swansea City today a far better performance than at Millwall as they look to improve the EFL’s worst away record.
The Welsh club are 14th in the table, eight points off the top six while the Reds are 22nd, and eight points from safety.
Barnsley have lost 15 of their last 17 games on the road. They have the fewest away points in the EFL this season with seven from 20 games while no club has fewer away wins or goals than their tallies of one and 13.
This is a second long trip of the week for the Reds after Saturday’s 4-1 loss in London to Millwall, which was one of the worst performances of the season and caused head coach Poya Asbaghi to question his players’ attitude. Asbaghi told the Chronicle: “Of course we need to give them more than we did at Millwall.
“The fans want the same thing as us.
“We have to work hard to make sure it’s worth travelling.
“We appreciate the fact that these 300 people, with the situation we are in in the table, want to make the long away trip to support us.
“It makes us really proud.
“The best thing we can do is to pay them back with three points.”
The Swans are unbeaten in five games with four wins, including in each of their last three. They came back from the international break with a 4-0 win at local rivals Cardiff City then triumphed 1-0 at Millwall before winning 2-1 at home to Barnsley’s fellow strugglers Derby County on Saturday.
Asbaghi said: “This game is one of the toughest tests we have left because of the form Swansea have and the players they have. But, if we can get a shock result there, we can be optimistic about the rest of the season.”
Millwall’s direct style is very different to a Swansea side at the top of the division’s stats tables for most passes, most possession and highest pass completion rate. Asbaghi said: “That’s the charm of the Championship. Most teams play pretty direct but suddenly you get Swansea who are the opposite.
“They can still be direct at times but, if you compare them to all the other teams in the Championship, they stand out in the way they want to play.”
The journey to South Wales will be Barnsley’s longest of the season and is traditionally one of their hardest as they have not won at Swansea in 13 visits since 1974, losing ten.
The Reds have not beaten City home or away in 15 meetings, losing nine including four of the last five, since winning on penalties in the 2006 League One play-off final. Their last league win was in 1983 at Oakwell.
The most recent meetings were in the play-offs last May when Swansea won 1-0 at Oakwell then drew 1-1 at home to reach the Wembley final which they lost, and in November when City won 2-0 at Oakwell in Asbaghi’s first game.
This will be the 80th meeting of the clubs, with Barnsley winning 24 and losing 39.
Swansea have midfielder Korey Smith who played 12 games on loan to Barnsley in early 2012.
Barnsley flew to Wales yesterday afternoon. Asbaghi said: “We will wake up and eat breakfast together as a team which we don’t do all the time.
“The travelling to Swansea is not difficult but we would prefer a home game when we have only two days before playing Peterborough on Monday.”
After hosting the Reds today, Swansea visit fourth-bottom Reading on Monday so the Welsh club could play a key role in the relegation fight.