Barnsley will hope to get their second League One victory of the season tomorrow at home to Joey Barton’s Bristol Rovers from 7.45pm.
Barton and Reds head coach Michael Duff played together at Burnley and remain friends from that time.
Former England midfielder Barton then had three years in charge of Fleetwood Town, including the 2018/19 season in which Daniel Stendel’s Barnsley did the double over the Cod Army.
Barton was accused of assaulting Stendel in the Oakwell tunnel but acquitted after a trial last December. By that time, he had left Fleetwood and joined Bristol Rovers but could not stop them being relegated from League One last year.
He brought them back at the first attempt, with an extraordinary final day 7-0 win over Keith Hill’s relegated Scunthorpe United giving them the goal difference they needed to take the third automatic promotion place in League Two.
Assistant manager Martin Paterson said: “I played against Joey Barton who had an excellent carer. I was usually at the level below him unfortunately. The manager played with him and had success. His CV speaks for himself.
“Everyone is entitled to their options, but for me, I admire him for the career he’s had.”
Rovers began their season with a 2-1 home loss to near neighbours and fellow newly-promoted side Forest Green Rovers. They then won 4-0 at Burton Albion, who had a man sent off in the first minute, and beat Oxford United 1-0 on Saturday.
Nicky Cadden is being assessed after a calf problem.
Paterson said: “It’s such a difficult game. Bristol Rovers are a good team and they can play. They build up really well, they have lots of threat attacking-wise and little bit of depth to change that as well. It’s no mystery why they have won two games at the start of the year especially after such a phenomenal end to last season.
“They look like a team full of confidence so we expect them to be really hard to play against.”
The Reds won their first home game of the season against Cheltenham. Paterson said: “Oakwell must be somewhere we get points and people hopefully don’t enjoy coming. We must build from the Cheltenham win but also the performance at Middlesbrough (an EFL Cup win last Wednesday) and Derby where the outcome could have been much different.”
Luke Thomas was at Bristol Rovers last season but was mainly a substitute on loan from Barnsley where he has since returned despite alleged interest from the Gas.
The teams have met 32 times, with Barnsley winning 11 and losing 12. The Reds had won four in a row before losing 2-1 at the Memorial Ground in May 2019 after they were already promoted to the Championship.
Rovers have won five of their 16 games at Oakwell, most recently 1-0 in 1991, after which they lost 2-1 in 1993, 4-1 in the FA Cup in 1999 and 1-0 in 2018 thanks to a fine Alex Mowatt goal.