BARNSLEY’S hosts tonight Peterborough United are ‘one of the best teams in League One’ according to Michael Duff who will come up against his close friend Grant McCann.
The Reds – who play at London Road from 7.45pm this evening – won 3-0 at home to Crewe Alexandra in the FA Cup on Saturday.
They have won five of their last six games in all competitions, with three straight league victories.
The Posh are fourth, one point and two places above the Reds having played one extra game.
Peterborough’s manager is McCann, who played 44 games for Barnsley from 2006 to 2008, having signed from Cheltenham where he spent several years playing alongside Reds boss Duff.
The former Northern Ireland team-mates are very close friends, speak regularly, and Duff is godfather to McCann’s son Bayley who has been on the bench for Posh’s first team this season aged 16.
They have never met as managers but McCann did win twice at Oakwell last season as manager of Hull City then Peterborough.
Martin Devaney, Duff’s first team coach, played with McCann at both Cheltenham and Barnsley while their old Reds colleague Dale Tonge, from Goldthorpe, is a first team coach with Posh having helped Barnsley to promotion as Daniel Stendel’s assistant in 2019.
Reds head coach Duff told the Chronicle: “I roomed with Grant at Cheltenham and Northern Ireland.
“I am godparent to his oldest child.
“I am looking forward to seeing him and hopefully we will have the three points when I go in his office afterwards.
“You don’t have many close friends in football but Grant is definitely one of mine.”
He added: “We will fall out, no doubt, during the game then afterwards, no matter the result, have a chat and a beer and hopefully we finish higher than they do.”
Peterborough were relegated alongside Barnsley earlier this year.
McCann’s side have drawn just one of 19 league games this season – the fewest in the division – while winning ten and losing eight.
They have lost their two most recent league games at Exeter City and Bristol Rovers, having won their previous three.
They then lost 4-2 to Chelsea under 21s in the EFL Trophy and 3-1 at fellow League One club Shrewsbury Town on Saturday in the FA Cup.
While no side has lost more away games in League One this season than Posh’s seven, they have the second best home record in the division behind leaders Plymouth Argyle.
They have won seven league games at home, including their last three, drawing one and losing to Fleetwood Town in September.
They have conceded the fewest home goals in League One, with no club in English professional football letting in fewer than their four in nine home league games – compared to 19 conceded away from home.
Only Sheffield Wednesday have scored more at home in League One than the Posh’s 21.
The Reds have won four of their last six away league games, losing only one.
Duff said: “We put as much preparation in whether we play top or bottom of the league. It’s hard to win a game of football and they are all worth three points.
“We think Peterborough will be 4-3-3.
“Grant likes that and won the league playing it (with Hull). But if they rock up in a 3-5-2 we will make adjustments.
“They have the second best home record in the league.
“I think they lost one player in the summer from a team that had an upturn in the Championship when Grant went in.
“They have not had as big a turnaround as ourselves.
“With (Jonson) Clarke-Harris and Jack Marriott they probably have as good a strikeforce as any team in the league.
“The young centre half (Ronnie Edwards) is probably one of the most valuable assets in the division.
“They have a lot going for them and it will be a tough test.”
The two clubs have met 40 times with the Reds losing 18 and winning 16.
Barnsley lost 2-0 at home to Peterborough on Easter Monday.
That is their only loss against them in five games. They had drawn 0-0 at the Cambridgeshire club on November 27, a year ago this week, in Poya Asbaghi’s first away game as head coach.
Before that, there were 88 goals in 19 meetings at London Road.
Barnsley lost their first six games there but have won seven of their last 14 visits.