BARNSLEY will hope for a more clinical performance against Accrington Stanley than when they drew on Boxing Day.

Stanley are 19th in League One, a point and two places above safety whereas the Reds are sixth.

The two clubs met less than four weeks ago when the hosts cancelled out James Norwood’s early strike with a disputed penalty for a handball by Liam Kitching.

Head coach Michael Duff told the Chronicle: “I would think our lads would be motivated anyway because of where we are in the league, we’re at home and it’s their job ultimately.

“There is enough space between the two games. Sometimes when it’s back to back in a week it carries over if something happens. That’s not the case at all. We felt hard done by by a referee’s decision but we were disappointed not to have won the game.”

He added: “It will be a tight game.

“They make it really difficult. They go man for man all over the pitch.”

Since then, Stanley lost 2-0 at fellow strugglers Morecambe then 4-0 at high-flying Derby County which left them in the relegation zone. But they jumped out of the bottom four with a 2-0 win at home to Bristol Rovers on Saturday. They have won two of their last 13 league games, losing eight.

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Accrington have only scored seven goals in their 12 away league games – the lowest in League One.

Barnsley will be looking for their first goals and points of 2023, having lost all three games so far this year.

Duff said: “You can dress it anyway you want. We got Manager of the Month twice then lost two league games – against Bolton which I think would have been different if it had been 11v11 and at Charlton where I thought we were good.

“It’s different to when we went a month without scoring a goal or creating chances. That isn’t the case now.

“As a general rule, performances have been pretty good. It’s that last little bit which is the hardest bit in football and why centre forwards go for hundreds of millions of pounds. We’ve been creating chances – it’s a little bit more calmness or clinical finishing or just creating even more chances.”

Accrington’s only visit to Oakwell since they folded and left the Football League in the 1960s was in March 2019 when they lost 2-0 to Daniel Stendel’s promotion-bound Reds.

Their earlier trips to Oakwell saw losses by scorelines of 4-0, 6-0, 4-1, 5-0 and 5-0 as well as a 2-1 win in 1954.

In all, Barnsley have won ten of their 15 meetings with Stanley, losing four.