Barnsley midfielder Paddy McCourt expects an “extra wee little bit of spice” in tomorrow’s South Yorkshire derby clash with Doncaster.
Former Celtic playmaker McCourt has been a revelation since his arrival at Oakwell on a one-year deal.
And the 29-year-old, who played under current boss David Flitcroft at his former club Rochdale, hopes the Reds can make home advantage count in what promises to be a fiery encounter between two sides struggling at the wrong end of the Championship.
“I know they [Doncaster] are quite close in terms of geography, so any local teams means there’s extra wee little bit of spice to the game,” said McCourt.
“I’m sure on Saturday that will be no different and it’s up to us to meet that [challenge] head on. Hopefully we can use that derby atmosphere to our advantage.
“I know quite a bit about them. I’ve followed the Championship for a while and I’ve got a lot of friends who have played in it.
“Doncaster are a team very similar to ourselves. They haven’t got the financial muscle like other big clubs in the league, but they’ve got a decent squad together and I’m sure it will be a tough game.”
The Reds are unbeaten in their last three games but have won only twice at home this season in eight outings, while Rovers visit their neighbours having lost their last three league matches and, even more worryingly, having won away once all season.
“Hopefully with the last three or four performances now we’ve turned a corner,” revealed McCourt.
“It’s a big challenge here, but I think we’ve been doing better recently. We’ve picked up a few results and I thought were unlucky not to get the three points in our last game with Ipswich.
“It’s another big on Saturday so we’re really looking forward to it.”
Crystal Palace loan Peter Ramage remains sidelined with a thigh injury, goalkeeper Luke Steele with a back complaint and midfielder Jacob Mellis with an ankle injury.
Defenfer Lewin Nyatanga is still missing with a thigh injury, while striker Danny Rose has picked up an ankle injury which is expected to sideline him for two to four weeks.
Meanwhile, defender Jimmy McNulty had extened his loan deal at Tranmere Rovers by two months to 4 January.