BARNSLEY are expecting a ‘massive test’ as they look for a first home win over Bolton Wanderers for one day shy of a quarter of a century on Monday from 3pm.
The Reds are currently fourth in League One, two places and three points clear of Bolton, who drew 1-1 at Lincoln City on Friday.
Barnsley won 2-1 over Fleetwood Town on Thursday, a fifth straight home victory.
Assistant coach Martin Paterson said: “It’s a massive test against a really good team. We go into it with good momentum, but they have had good form as well. Finding a way to win against Fleetwood gives us a really big boost. We will go into the game with confidence, but a humble confidence, and the test will be: can we punish Bolton if we get opportunities? We hope we can bring the same energy as the Fleetwood game.”
Monday’s game will be the third meeting of the season.
Barnsley went to the University of Bolton Stadium for a 0-0 league draw in October then got their first ever win there three weeks later in the FA Cup.
The Reds won 2-1 thanks to a Ricardo Santos own goal and an Adam Phillips long-range stunner.
Both contests were bad-tempered with disagreements between Reds boss Michael Duff and Bolton manager Ian Evatt.
That was partly because of former Bolton player Luca Connell’s alleged time-wasting in the league match and Barnsley’s use of towels for long throws.
On whether he expects another game like that, Paterson said: “We’re Barnsley Football Club, we compete. We will be competing again.”
The last time the Trotters lost at Oakwell was on January 3, 1998 in the FA Cup with Darren Barnard’s free-kick the only goal of the game.
Barnsley had also beaten them earlier that season at home in the Premier League with goals by Eric Tinkler and Georgi Hristov. That has been followed a 13-game unbeaten run for the Trotters in league meetings with the Reds.
Since those games in 1997/98, Bolton have visited Oakwell six times, winning three and drawing three including a 2-2 draw in the last meeting there in April 2018 when they scored in the 84th and 85th minutes before conceding an Oli McBurnie leveller in injury-time.
There are three former Reds in the Bolton squad – brief loanees Gethin Jones and Declan John as well as 2016 promotion hero Lloyd Isgrove – but it is likely none will play.
Jones has been a regular in defence but is an injury doubt while Isgrove and John have barely featured in the league this season.
The last time the Reds won their first league game of a calendar year was at Sunderland in 2018.