An in-depth look at today's match at Adams Park. Fourth-placed Barnsley will look to extend their ten-game unbeaten run at seventh-placed Wycombe.
TEAM NEWS: Barnsley: Out injured: Conor McCarthy (knee), Matty Wolfe (knee). Doubts: Robbie Cundy (knee) Brad Collins (quad).
Wycombe: Doubts: Nick Freeman, Sam Vokes, David Wheeler. Out: Ryan Tafazolli, Dom Gape, Jordan Obita.
James Richings, Bucks Free Press
It is fair to say that the last few weeks have been a bit manic with Gareth Ainsworth’s departure which was something no one associated with the club saw coming.
Matt Bloomfield has returned and has kept things relatively similar but, in recent matches, you can tell he has a certain way he wants to play which is to not be too open.
Wycombe are in a good position but they are still trying to get to grips with a new management team.
Top six is the aim and is very achievable, but things will also need to go Wanderers’ way along with winning games in order to get into the play-offs for the third time in four years.
A player Barnsley fans should look out for is Tjay De Barr who is starting to make a name for himself.
This is his second season with Wycombe but, really, this is his break-out year. The striker, who can also play as a winger or attacking midfielder, has had to wait patiently for his chance and, after scoring his first EFL goal in the loss at Burton on Saturday, he was awarded with his first EFL start in the win against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday where he got an assist.
Not many people will know a lot about him, but he is certainly one to look out for.
Adam Phillips v Josh Scowen
Phillips is obviously on magnificent form – registering four goals and three assists in his last six matches.
Opponents must dread any loose balls on the edge of the box as his shooting from that range is exemplary.
Despite only signing in September, he is already in the top eight of the club’s list for goals outside the box since 1990.
He will be looking to get into double figures for goals on Saturday and create the headline ‘Adam’s Park.’
Phillips’ pressing has also been excellent recently, winning the ball several times every game in good positions.
There may be fewer opportunities to do so against direct Wycombe than Plymouth who tried to build up from within their penalty area.
But, when the ball is in the central area, the Reds will look to overwhelm the Chairboys’ two in the middle with their energy and hassling.
Phillips will likely come up against former Barnsley midfielder Scowen who Reds fans will remember fondly for his work-rate and battling abilities.
Scowen is expected to partner Lewis Wing who has an impressive eight goals this season, which makes him Wycombe’s top-scorer other than Anis Mehmeti who Bristol City bought in January.
Both Scowen and Wing are in the top ten for tackles in League One this season.
Nick Freeman had been playing instead of Scowen but missed Tuesday’s win at Bristol Rovers due to illness.
He scored a long-range goal at Oakwell in August.
Bobby Thomas v Garath McCleary
Wycombe rely on veteran attacking midfielder McCleary for much of their attacking inspiration and end product.
The former Nottingham Forest and Reading man has played in the Premier League and more than 300 times in the Championship, while winning 24 caps for Jamaica.
At 35, he still has a lot to offer Wycombe with six goals and eight assists this season.
He usually plays on the left of a trio of attacking midfielders so is likely to come up against Barnsley’s right-sided centre-back Thomas, who has been excellent since arriving in January – particularly against Plymouth on Saturday.
Wycombe’s veteran Wales international striker Sam Vokes has been out with injury so there is likely to be further opportunities for Gibraltar international Tjay De Barr and Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee Chem Campbell, who both scored this week.
James Norwood v Jack Grimmer
Grimmer was a right-back for much of his career with Shrewsbury, Coventry and now Wycombe but has recently been converted into a centre-back. He has been partnering Chris Forino who Wycombe snapped up from Loughborough University in 2021.
Norwood may fancy his chances of rattling the Chairboys’ back two if he continues his excellent recent form in which he has been pressing relentlessly, showing real skill in his link-up play and chipping in with regular goals and assists.
It will be interesting to see who partners him up front after Devante Cole was taken off at half-time on Saturday, following a poor performance, and replaced by Max Watters.
Nicky Cadden v Jason McCarthy
Wycombe right-back McCarthy had a difficult time at Barnsley, spending the 2017/18 season with the then-Championship Reds.
One of his issues was stopping crosses, which could be a problem against Cadden whose delivery from the left can be excellent.
The Scot will be full of confidence having just netted two fine goals from outside the box in Barnsley’s last two games.
Cadden, Phillips and left centre-back Liam Kitching will look to work as a team to get at the right side of Wycombe’s defence.
Chairboys 2, Reds 2 – March 15, 2003
Barnsley trailed on their first trip to Adams Park until the 76th minute. Mike Sheron levelled then, after Wycombe scored again, Bruce Dyer made it 2-2 in the 86th minute
Chairboys 1, Reds 2 – October 18, 2003
Isaiah Rankin’s brace put the visitors 2-0 up after 33 minutes.
Chairboys 1, Reds 0 – December 8, 2018
One of the worst performances in the last promotion season. Randell Williams got the winner. Barnsley reacted with a 20-game unbeaten league run.
Chairboys 1, Reds 3 – March 17, 2021
Valerien Ismael’s Barnsley made it nine wins from ten games and moved up to fifth in the Championship. Cauley Woodrow scored a penalty just before the break, following a foul on Michal Helik by Ryan Tafazolli, then celebrated by poking his bottom towards the corner flag in a private joke which enraged Wycombe board member Pete Couhig who launched a foul-mouthed rant on the sidelines. Daryl Dike added a brace before Alex Mowatt was given a controversial red card which was later rescinded, then the hosts pulled one back.
Reds 0, Chairboys 3 – August 20, 2022
Barnsley had just beaten Bristol Rovers 3-0 four days earlier but produced one of their worst performances of this season. Anis Mehmeti opened the scoring with a good finish from just inside the box then incredibly hit the bar from almost on the line. Dominic Gape netted an extraordinary goal from 45 yards over the stranded Brad Collins who was also beaten from 25 yards by Nick Freeman. Michael Duff criticised his team for not working hard enough.