This match seems perfect for Boxing Day, with these two Northern teams pitting together in a game which should attract a decent crowd. Burnley are the surprise package of the Championship this season and are currently pursuing a promotion push, while Barnsley will be happy with their placing of 17th having been tipped as strong relegation candidates at the start of the season.
Burnley’s form through this campaign has been truly remarkable and no one could have possibly imagined their season turning out like this. After an inconsistent start, it took a few weeks for the Clarets to get things right but since then they’ve not looked back. They’ve lost just twice in the last sixteen games and coincidently, one of those defeats was to opponents Barnsley! Having spent more than usual during the summer, Owen Coyle looks to have assembled a very good Championship side that look both strong at the back and provide plenty of attacking threats. With the likes of Martin Paterson and Chris Eagles now bang in form; it will take a very good effort from any side in this division to stop the Clarets continuing this fantastic run.
As for Barnsley, the Tykes put a stop to some recent poor form with a 2-0 victory over Plymouth. While results have been disappointing over the last few weeks, one thing that Simon Davey has maintained is that his side are playing good football and just need to convert this possession into goals. It looked as though that would be the case on Saturday as well and it took some hard work to muster the win over an Argyle side who had ten men for much of the game. There’s no doubt that their seven point cushion from the bottom three is more than adequate at the moment, but more firepower is needed if they are to confirm their divisional status and stay a Championship side.
Owen Coyle is sweating on the fitness of two of his players, with Wade Elliott and Kevin McDonald both set for late fitness tests ahead of the game. As for Barnsley’s team news, Simon Davey will welcome back Hugo Colace who will return from suspension although Dennis Souza and Martin Devaney look set to miss out again. After keeping a clean sheet against Plymouth this doesn’t seem a problem though and Darren Moore and Stephen Foster will keep their places at the heart of the Tykes defence.
In terms of a prediction, the only result we see is a Clarets win. While Barnsley play good football, they lack that vital firepower that is needed to kill teams off. What’s more, they’re not the best side away from home and therefore this should be a routine win for Burnley – home win, 2-0.