BARNSLEY will hope to pick up their first points and goals of 2023 when they visit ‘proper football club’ Charlton Athletic tomorrow.
The Addicks are 12th in the League One table, nine points above the relegation zone and nine below the sixth-placed Reds.
They finished 2022 with an eight-game winless run in the league, including five losses, which left them just three points clear of the drop zone.
But they won 3-1 at Portsmouth on New Year’s Day then 2-1 at home to Lincoln City on Saturday, ending a run of five home games without a league victory since October.
They then lost 3-0 at Old Trafford against Manchester United in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.
Only high-flying Plymouth and Sheffield Wednesday have more goals at home than Charlton in League One this season.
Their manager is former Bristol City boss Dean Holden who replaced Ben Garner last month.
Garner had a difficult six-month spell in charge which included a 3-1 September loss at Oakwell.
Josh Benson, James Norwood and Devante Cole put the hosts 3-0 up before a late consolation.
Holden has faced Barnsley twice as a manager, losing with Oldham in 2015 then drawing 2-2 at Oakwell with Bristol City in 2020.
He will come up against Duff who has not been given any punishment for his red card against Fleetwood Town on December 29.
Duff said: “Charlton were possession-based under Ben because that’s what he is.
“Dean looks like he has quickened them up a bit.
“But their strengths are in the wide areas.
“We will have to look after the two wingers to get anything out of the game.
“They have always had good players.
“I know Dean really well. I used to live in the same village as his family in the Manchester area and we went to the same local cricket club.
“He’s a really well-respected coach.
“We know we’re in for a tough challenge. They have had two good results in the league.
“They were a threat in the last game, 3-1 sounds comfortable but it wasn’t comfortable at all.
“They are a huge club in this division and spent a lot of time in the Premier League. They are a proper football club.
“I played my last ever game there as a player and we (Burnley) won the Championship that day so I have fond memories of that ground.”
Will the midweek cup tie have left Charlton tired?
Duff said: “No, I don’t think so. You get through on adrenaline.
“They just played at Man United in front of 75,000 people.
“It can only be a positive.
“The performance was positive as well because it wasn’t a 3-0 game.
“They will be buzzing after the Man United game.
“We’re hoping for after the Lord Mayor’s show but we will prepare for their best performance.”
The October defeat to Morecambe was Barnsley’s only loss in their last nine away league games since August, winning four.
They were beaten 3-0 at Derby County in the FA Cup on Sunday after losing by the same scoreline in the league at Oakwell six days earlier to Bolton Wanderers.
Duff said: “2023 has not been great so far. We know where we’re at.
“There’s an honesty within the group.
“We didn’t sugarcoat it after the Derby game.
“We have worked hard on the training ground this week, and we’ll try to give a reaction.
“Generally we have been fairly good after poor performances.
“Weirdly, there were positives after the 3-0 loss to Bolton.
“But there weren’t many positives from Derby.”
This will be the 65th meeting of the two clubs, with Barnsley winning 18 and losing 20.
They did not win any of their first 21 trips to the Valley then won three in a row in 2008, 2012 and 2014 with winners by Jon Macken, Tomasz Cywka and Tom Kennedy.
But they lost 2-0 under Daniel Stendel in 2018 then 2-1 under Gerhard Struber in 2020.
After the trip to London, Barnsley are due to host Accrington Stanley the following Saturday then make the long trip to Exeter City three days later.
They now have a free weekend at the end of the month after scheduled visitors Sheffield Wednesday reached the fourth round of the FA Cup and Barnsley were knocked out. The derby has been moved to Tuesday, March 21