A full preview of Barnsley's final league game with Northampton Town including key battles, opposition view and previous meetings.


BARNSLEY WIN: The Reds will definitely finish fifth and take on the fourth-placed team, very likely Peterborough, in the semi-final, at home on the following Saturday evening then away on Wednesday, May 8.

BARNSLEY DRAW: The Reds will finish on 76 points so will be overtaken by any of Lincoln, Oxford and Blackpool who win. If two of them win, Barnsley will finish outside the play-offs. The Reds have a lower goal difference than Lincoln and Oxford and the same as Blackpool.

BARNSLEY LOSE: Lincoln and Oxford would overtake Barnsley with draws while Blackpool would finish above them with a win.


EXETER V OXFORD: The Grecians are the form team in the division, unbeaten in eight with six wins. The Us had won three in a row – scoring 13 and conceding none – before losing to Lincoln and drawing with Stevenage. Oxford are unbeaten in their last six league games at St James Park since 2001, winning three.

READING V BLACKPOOL: Reading, after securing their safety with a draw at Oakwell last week, lost at relegation-battling Burton Albion on Saturday. Once again they have nothing to play for against a side fighting for something but will surely want to end a torturous season on a high for their supporters.

The Seasiders have the 14th-best away record and have only won once at Reading in 18 attempts since 1980. But they blew Barnsley away on Saturday with some real attacking talent.

LINCOLN V PORTSMOUTH: The Imps have lost one of their last 19 league games. Pompey’s 16-match unbeaten run ended with a home loss to Wigan on Saturday after they won the title and promotion last week against Barnsley. Lincoln have won one of 13 meetings since 1980.

REFEREE – Ollie Yates

The Staffordshire official gave Barnsley a penalty for handball at Reading this season, which Herbie Kane scored, and against Manchester City under 21s in the EFL Trophy in 2018, which Cauley Woodrow missed. His other Reds game was last season’s 3-0 home loss to Wycombe.


James Heneghan, Northampton Chronicle

It’s been a very good season back in League One.

Most neutrals and even some fans predicted Northampton would be in a relegation fight after promotion last season but that has never been a danger since an excellent run of form in the autumn. Their season has tailed off a little in recent weeks but they have been competitive in most games and beat second-placed Derby County only last month.

Manager Jon Brady will be desperate to sign off on a high and try and secure a top half finish with a win on Saturday.


Liam Roberts v Sam Hoskins

Barnsley goalkeeper Roberts played for Northampton in the 2021/22 season, starting all 46 League Two games as they dropped out of the automatic promotion places on the last day – overtaken by Bristol Rovers who beat Scunthorpe 7-0 – then lost in the play-offs to Mansfield.

Roberts – who was sent off on that last day for the Cobblers – will be hoping to avoid more final game heartbreak this time but will need to play better than recently, after excelling for much of the season. He has had to make the most saves from shots in his penalty area per game of any League One goalkeeper.

He was a Cobblers team-mate of Hoskins who has 15 goals this season and 90 in total for Northampton who he joined in 2015.

The 31-year-old was a midfielder under turning into a prolific forward in the last three seasons.

Jordan Williams v Kieron Bowie

Bowie, the loanee from Fulham, is the type of big striker Barnsley, and particularly Williams, have struggled against this season.

The Scotland under 21 international has nine goals and five assists.

He is also in the top three players in the league for both committing the most fouls and being fouled the most.

The other options in Northampton’s front three are Louis Appere who scored in the reverse fixture and Mitch Pinnock who has seven goals and seven assists this season.

Williams could play in the back three again – unless Jamie McCart returns – and, as captain, could have a major impact on how Barnsley approach the game and manage their way through it.

Williams has played 198 games for the Reds.

Adam Phillips v Marc Leonard

Midfielder Leonard was named Northampton’s Player of the Year this week, with 80 per cent of the vote.

The Scotland under 21 international has been on loan from Brighton both last season then this season and is extremely highly-rated, with five goals – all of which have been from outside the box – and six assists this campaign.

He has made the third most tackles in the division this season while also being the heartbeat of the attractive passing football they have often played.

Only three Peterborough players have made more passes than Leonard this season.

He is likely to form a midfield three with Jack Sowerby and Shaun McWilliams.

They will attempt to contain Phillips who has four goals in his last five matches.

Who plays alongside Phillips is a mystery for now as Luca Connell and Jon Russell have been injury doubts.

Connell is the most likely to return and could replace Herbie Kane as the defensive midfielder, with Kane moving further forward.

If both still out, Conor Grant could make his first home start or Fabio Jalo could get a full debut behind the strikers in a very attacking line-up.

John McAtee v Jon Guthrie

McAtee’s goals have been one of the few positive elements during Barnsley’s recent bad run.

In the last 11 games, when they have picked up only nine points, he has scored six times – including in each of the last two.

Only two of the Luton loanee’s 15 goals have been at Oakwell, and he will be desperate to add to that.

If the game ends badly, it could be his final match for the club – which also goes for the other loanees and out-of contract players such as Kane, Williams, Nicky Cadden and Devante Cole.

Cole could make his 150th appearance for the Reds in this game but Sam Cosgrove or Jalo may also be in contention to start up front after impressing off the bench at Blackpool.

Whoever starts will come up against a defence led by experienced League One campaigner Guthrie, who is in the top ten for most clearances made in the division this season.

He is also a threat from set pieces, with four goals, while centre-back partner Sam Sherring has five assists this season.


Reds 3, Cobblers 2 – October 11, 1961

The visitors took the lead after ten minutes but Frank Bartlett levelled then put Barnsley in front on 77 minutes. Northampton equalised almost instantly but there was still time for Bobby Wood to net a winner with a curling strike.

Reds 5, Cobblers 1 – December 21, 1974

A crowd of just 2,491 watched this comfortable win. Kenny Brown and John Peachey netted late in the first half then, after the visitors replied, Barnsley scored three goals between 82 and 89 minutes through Peter Price, David Yates and Alistair Millar.

Reds 3, Cobblers 1 – August 30, 1975

Barnsley’s last home win over Northampton. Mick Butler put the hosts in front during a dominant start but Town levelled on 16 minutes. John Peachey and Butler won it after the break.

Reds 1, Cobblers 2 – January 1, 2003

It was a poor start to the year for the cash-strapped Reds under Glyn Hodges. Chris Lumsdon gave them the lead but he also scored an own goal when deflecting in a shot, before Darryn Stamp won it.

Reds 1, Cobblers 2 – August 9, 2016

Championship Barnsley were knocked out of the EFL Cup by their League One visitors. Josh Scowen headed in an Adam Hammill free-kick before Adam Davies fumbled a corner into his net then John-Joe O’Toole headed in an extra-time winner.