THE EXCELLENT result at Wigan Athletic on Saturday meant Barnsley came out of an up-and-down first month of the season with seven points from five games.

August was bookended by impressive victories in different ways but, in-between them, the Reds produced three disappointing performances which brought one point and seven goals conceded.

There are some mitigating circumstances with key players absent and a distracting transfer window, but overall it has been an average first month at best for a promotion challenger – with the Reds now in need of much more consistency.

They play another five league games in September and must start picking up points at a faster rate if they are to stay in touch with the top sides.

The next two league fixtures are against sides yet to win and currently in the bottom three – an opportunity, in theory, to build on the victory in Wigan and start a good run.

They also visit a newly-promoted side in Northampton but their final two home league games of the month are against Portsmouth and Blackpool who are expected to compete for promotion. Those last two fixtures might be a good pointer of where the Reds are.

In general they should be on course to better their tally at the 15-game mark last season of 21 points, which was then followed by a sensational run.

This should be a month when they build some momentum and climb the league table.

They should have new signings to introduce to the group and key men returning from injury and illness, which could transform the squad.

There is a two-week break from the league fixtures in the middle of the month, so there should be plenty of time to work on the training ground with the coaches.

The Reds are the top-scorers in the division having netted in every game including their 7-0 opener.

They were still looking to strengthen up front before tonight’s deadline, and confident they would not have to sell any first team stars.

A strong final day of the window which sees extra quality brought in and no damaging sales would be an ideal start to an important month in which the Reds need to start to look regularly like promotion candidates.


For the second time in the opening weeks of the season, the Reds will make a long trip to the south west.

They will look for a much better performance than in the draw at Bristol Rovers but their hosts this time have had a far tougher start to the campaign.

The Robins are bottom and the only team in the EFL who have not scored this season.

There is no longer the Michael Duff connection adding extra spice to this fixture and it will just simply be a match the Reds are expected to win.

Barnsley cannot afford any complacency and are far from the finished article despite the fine win at Wigan. But it’s a big chance for back-to-back victories.

This game will take place hours after the transfer window shuts, on a busy weekend for the club which will finish with their women’s team’s first ever game on the main pitch.


The Reds host the League Two Mariners in the EFL Trophy which, as always, will see a much-changed side from the league which is clearly the priority.

This could be a handily-placed match with players coming back to full fitness and requiring gametime, as well as others needing minutes after sitting on the Reds bench or just signing for the club. Conor McCarthy could make his first start in almost a year, while Josh Benson also has a chance of returning.

Mael de Givegney might get another chance after his short-lived debut last week while other new signings may also be involved.

It could be an opportunity for some of the younger players in the under 21s squad to force their way into contention for the first team, while some senior strikers may be looking to end goalless streaks.

The Reds also host Manchester City under 21s three weeks later.

BURTON ALBION, H, September 16

This will be the first home league game for a month since the 3-1 home losses to Oxford and Peterborough.

Most of the match-going Barnsley public will have not seen their team since those humbling home defeats.

They will hope to be greeted by a side buoyed by some new signings, players back to fitness and decent results on the road and in the cup.

Burton are currently in the relegation zone after collecting just two points and two goals from their opening five games.

This game may be a return to Oakwell for Jasper Moon who moved between the clubs in the summer.

He has started three of their five league games so far.

PORTSMOUTH, HOME, September 19

This match was due to be played ten days earlier but was called off by Portsmouth due to international call-ups.

They now have to make the long trip in midweek to Oakwell where they have won just once in 15 attempts since 1989, losing 11. This should be a step up in opponent for Barnsley.

Under young coach John Mousinho, and with 13 summer signings as of the final days of the window, they have been tipped by many to compete for promotion after finishing eighth, tenth and eighth in the last three campaigns.

They are unbeaten and have kept four successive clean sheets in the league since the opening day of the season.

They have drawn 0-0 in their last two games against Cheltenham and Stevenage.


Northampton have adapted well so far after promotion and are level on points with Barnsley. The Cobblers lost their first two games of the season but scored twice very late on to draw with Lincoln then beat local rivals Peterborough before winning 1-0 at Cheltenham.

It will be the clubs’ first league meeting for more than 20 years.

Will Hondermarck – who left the Reds in January – has played in every game this season for Northampton, while Barnsley goalkeeper Liam Roberts spent the 2021/22 season with Town. The Reds will make two more long trips in the first week on October, travelling to Cambridge on Tuesday the third then Exeter on Saturday the seventh. They also visit Leyton Orient on the 21st.

BLACKPOOL, H, September 30

September ends with, in theory, another tough test at Oakwell after the Portsmouth game.

Blackpool, who dropped out of the Championship last season, are expected to compete for promotion this season.

They were one of two sides in the EFL not to concede a goal this season before the weekend but were stunned 3-0 at Lincoln City.

That followed three goalless draws and an opening day win over Burton – which was the last time they scored in the league.

Now they face Wigan, Wycombe and Reading before visiting Oakwell.

Barnsley are then due to host Bolton Wanderers, Shrewsbury Town and Fleetwood Town in October.