Barnsley host Cambridge United on Good Friday from 3pm.

The Reds are fifth in League One, seven points off the automatic promotion places with two games in hand on second-placed Derby County, and nine clear in the top six. Cambridge, who have taken one point from their last seven games, are 20th, three points and one place clear of the relegation zone.

Barnsley won 4-0 at Cambridge in October with goals by Nicky Cadden, Mael de Gevigney, Max Watters and Jon Russell.

Since then the Us have sacked Mark Bonner, briefly employed Neill Harris before he returned to Millwall, then brought in former Barnsley defender Garry Monk earlier this month.

Here is a preview of the game with opposition view, key battles and previous meetings.

Team news:

Barnsley: Out: Matty Wolfe (knee), Donovan Pines.

Cambridge: Out: Harrison Dunk, Brandon Haunstrup, George Thomas, Glenn McConnell. Doubts: Jack Stevens.


Liam Apicella, Cambridge Independent

There is a real sense that new head coach Garry Monk is still searching for his best 11 and the right formation.

The Us have shipped 11 goals in his three games in charge and scored just once.

It seems like the teams around them are all picking up points and so they need to chalking up two or three positive results very soon. One point from the last 21 available makes for grim reading heading to Oakwell.



One of the factors in Cambridge’s poor recent form has been the absence of Spanish-Morrocan forward Ahadme.

The 23-year-old Ipswich loanee is the Us’ top-scorer with nine goals.

He netted six in six games before picking up an injury in December which kept him out until last week when he came off the bench.

He could return to the starting line-up at Oakwell, potentially replacing or partnering former Charlton and Nottingham Forest striker Lyle Taylor.

They also have former Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday man Elias Kachunga and another ex Championship regular Macauley Bonne who once played in goal at Oakwell for Colchester due to injuries.

Ahadme was part of an attack which caused serious problems for the Barnsley defence in the reverse fixture but missed a series of chances, with Liam Roberts inspired, and lost 4-0.

That summed up both teams’ seasons as the Reds have overperformed their ‘expected goals’ by the second most in the division, at 10.5, while Cambridge are the biggest underperformers in that metric by 16.

De Gevigney netted his first goal in English football in Cambridge, after Ahadme headed a corner into the Frenchman then the ball went in.

He will hope to help the Reds to a more solid defensive performance and build on a rare clean sheet against Cheltenham.


Both these midfielders made their professional debuts for their Good Friday opponents.

Digby grew up in the Oakwell academy then played 25 first team games between 2011 and 2016, struggling with injuries after representing England youth teams and being loaned to Manchester United with Mason Holgate.

He has praised Barnsley in the past and expressed his gratitude to them.

Phillips played his first four senior games for Cambridge in 2018 during a brief loan from Norwich City.

He has five goals in his last five home games for the Reds.

Digby, if he plays the holding role for the Us as usual, will have to watch Phillips’ bursts forward and long-range shots but he can hurt teams from the flanks too with his crossing ability.

Digby – now 29 and approaching 200 Cambridge games – often plays in midfield with Jordan Cousins, the former Charlton and Stoke midfielder, as well as James Brophy who could have scored a hat-trick in the reverse fixture. But Adam May or Jack Lankester could come into the side after recent thrashings.

Phillips is likely to be joined in the Reds midfield by Luca Connell and Herbie Kane, whose suspension is now over.


Morrison made his Cambridge debut in October 2005, weeks before the birth of Barnsley striker Fabio Jalo who could be back on the bench.

He is now 36 and, after playing more than 400 Championship games for the likes of Charlton, Birmingham and Reading, has formed an experienced centre-back partnership with 34-year-old former Premier League defender Ryan Bennett. They have a very experienced team in general, with six starters in their last game in their 30s and just one under 26.

The Us defence has shipped ten goals in their last two games so there may be changes.

That is also the case in Barnsley’s attack, where they could go with the energy and pace of McAtee and Devante Cole against such an old side, but Neill Collins has tended to favour the bigger Sam Cosgrove of late.

It is unclear which goalkeeper they will be shooting at as Jack Stevens came off injured in the last game and was replaced by Will Mannion who made a big mistake in October when he allowed Max Watters’ shot to squirm under him.


Reds 1, Us 1 – September 17, 1974

Mick Butler rescued Barnsley with an 89th-minute leveller after the visitors scored early in the second half.

Reds 2, Us 1 – April 22, 1977

Cambridge’s Tom Finney opened the scoring in the fifth minute then John Peachey netted midway through each half to win it for Barnsley.

Reds 2, Us 1 – October 12, 1982

This Milk Cup game was called off at the first attempt due to a downpour of rain with the score 1-1 on 53 minutes. It was replayed days later with Ronnie Glavin’s header and a Mick McCarthy 20-yard strike putting the hosts ahead before Finney pulled one back and Barnsley had to defend frantically in the final stages.

Reds 0, Us 0 – February 8, 1992

Probably the greatest team in Cambridge’s history – featuring Dion Dublin and looking for a third straight promotion – ground out a dull draw at Oakwell. John Beck’s side would just miss out on a place in the new Premier League as they lost in the play-offs to Leicester City.

Reds 2, Us 0 – February 11, 2023

Max Watters opened the scoring then was sent off before half-time. The Oakwell crowd, who Michael Duff had demanded more from following a flat reaction to three early goals in the previous game, backed their team fiercely. The hosts added a second through Jordan Williams’ long-range strike.