MICHAEL Duff’s Barnsley host struggling Cambridge United tomorrow at Oakwell as they look to extend their lead in the play-offs.
Barnsley are currently sitting in sixth place, three points above Peterborough United following their late equaliser at Portsmouth on Saturday in a 1-1 draw.
Cambridge pulled off an impressive result at home against promotion rivals Ipswich with the same scoreline.
They were seventh at the start of October but their last 18 league games have brought two wins, four draws and 12 defeats – they now sit third bottom of the league.
The Us are the second lowest goalscorers in League One and have one of the worst away records in the division.
When the sides met in Cambridge in September, Barnsley won 3-0 with goals by Devante Cole, Robbie Cundy and James Norwood. Goalkeeper Brad Collins came off with a facial injury at 1-0, replaced by Jamie Searle, then Liam Kitching was sent off.
The Reds will be looking for a similar result tomorrow to cement their place in the play-offs.
Duff said: “They’ve had a bad time of it – there’s no getting away from that.
“They started the season really well and rumour has it Mark turned down the Rotherham job.
“They now find themselves 22nd so they’ve had a difficult two or three months but they look like they’re coming out of it a little bit.
“They’ve changed what they’ve done, they always have been together and show signs of that.
“They’re organised and so it’ll be up to us to try and break them down.
“If Mark is turning down Championship clubs then he’s obviously good at what he does.
“It’ll be a tough game, we’ve been undone by a couple of these games, so it’ll be up to us to try and unpick them.”
Paul Digby – who came through the Oakwell academy and played 25 first team games – has been an ever-present in midfield this season for Cambridge.
Right-back George Williams, who helped Barnsley to promotion from League One in 2016, has started most of their games but was dropped to the bench after a 5-1 loss at Shrewsbury.
Joe Ironside – whose grandfather played in goal for Barnsley – is a striker for Cambridge.
Barnsley defender Cundy played 23 games on loan to Cambridge in 2020 from Bristol City – although he is expected to miss tomorrow’s game through injury.
The two clubs have met 22 times, with Barnsley winning ten, drawing seven and losing five.
Cambridge’s last visit to Oakwell was nearly 30 years ago in March 1993 when they lost 2-0.
Their only win in ten visits to Barnsley was a 3-2 success in 1983.