BARNSLEY will go in search of their first away points of the season today at unbeaten League One leaders Ipswich Town.
The Tractor Boys, managed by former Manchester United coach Kieran McKenna, are among the favourites to be promoted this season and have been one of the bigger spenders in the transfer market.
They began with a 1-1 draw at home to Bolton Wanderers then won four in a row at Forest Green, at home to MK Dons, at Burton Albion and 3-0 at Shrewsbury Town on Saturday. They are top of the early league table.
Barnsley have lost both of their away league matches so far this season, going down 1-0 on the opening day at Plymouth Argyle then 2-1 at Derby County last week – meaning they have been beaten in 16 of their last 19 away league games.
They were also defeated at Premier League Leeds United 3-1 in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.
Head coach Michael Duff told the Chronicle: “Leeds away then a long trip to the unbeaten top of the league team with a day less to prepare is going to be hard. But we gave a good performance at Derby (another promotion favourite) and deserved more.
“We will go down there and try to give a decent performance. We have Sheffield Wednesday after that but we will keep rolling with the punches.
“We’re not getting a lot of time on the training ground to work on things I want to work on, but we’ll keep our heads down and see what happens.”
This is the first of three successive Saturday league games against some of the promotion favourites.
After the trip to Suffolk, Barnsley make the much shorter journey to Sheffield Wednesday on September 3 before hosting Portsmouth on September 10. All three are in the current top four.
Duff told the Chronicle: “They are tough games.
“We are probably best off getting them out the way early, because we’re probably not where we want to be yet.
“They are tough teams. It’s a tough attritional league.
“We’re in a grind at the moment and it’s ‘get your head down and work hard.’”
He added: “The fixture list hasn’t been kind but it is what it is.”
Barnsley striker James Norwood spent the previous three seasons at Ipswich, who released him earlier this summer with a record of 28 goals in 88 games.
He was briefly a club-mate of current fellow Red Luke Thomas who was loaned to Ipswich early last year before cutting the deal short.
Ipswich’s former Barnsley striker Conor Chaplin – who scored 17 goals in 86 games between 2019 and 2021 – has started four of the five games, scoring twice. Another ex-Reds striker Kayden Jackson – who spent the 2016/17 season at Oakwell but never made an appearance – has also played in every game, mainly as a substitute, but netted on Saturday.
Ipswich’s captain is Sam Morsy, who spent the first half of the 2016/17 season on loan to Barnsley.
The Egypt international has started every game this season and scored once.
This is the 48th meeting of the two clubs, with Barnsley losing half of them and winning 13.
The Reds have not won in 11 meetings – with five draws and six defeats – since a 3-1 away success in 2010. That was one of just three victories at Portman Road in 23 attempts with the others in 1998 and in the League Cup in 1960.
The most recent visit was a 1-0 loss in April 2018, after which Barnsley legend Mick McCarthy announced in the press conference he was leaving the Suffolk club. They were relegated a year later and have finished in mid-table in their three third tier seasons.
The Reds have not kept a clean sheet in 17 meetings with Ipswich.