Barnsley boss only looking forward as starlet Matty Templeton signs a new deal
Barnsley boss Lee Johnson believes previous meetings are nothing to go by as his side prepare to host Rochdale this afternoon.
The Reds lost 3-0 earlier in the campaign but smashed five past the Dale on the final day of last season.
And Johnson reckons today’s game should be taken on its own merits, and will give much more of an idea as to how the two sides match up.
“Both of those games were completely false,” he reflected. “You couldn’t get a more false set of games if you tried.
“At the end of the season it was very experimental and we ended up banging in five which was a nice way to end.
“But by the same token the game at their place when we lost 3-0 was a good beating.
“It was heavily due to the League Cup game on the Wednesday against Everton and the minutes that the players played without recovery when Rochdale were fresh.
“It’s not an excuse. It happened, it’s gone, and this is a good game to set our mark.
“We want to get closer to them and we can go within a point of them if we do win. It’s important that we continue our form and try to surge up the division.”
Today’s visitors sit safely in mid-table and are managed by former Reds boss Keith Hill.
Renowned for an attitude and dress sense which divided opinion, the 46-year-old is in his second managerial spell with the Dale.
And current manager Johnson is certain that Hill will be strutting his stuff in the Oakwell dugout this afternoon, with the fashion stakes off the pitch almost as high as the points at stake on it.
“I think we’ll have a tweed off!” joked Johnson. “I’ll text him and make sure he wears a different colour tweed to me.
“I know he’s got his history here and he’s a bit marmite as a character, but I’m one that likes him as a person and respects him as a manager.
“Come three o’clock on Saturday - whatever we’re wearing - the issue will be on the pitch and we’ll be going gung-ho against each other tactically, and hopefully we’ll come out on top.”
Tenacious midfielder Josh Scowen could feature in the match day squad for the first time since suffering a knee ligament injury in November, with Johnson describing his chances for the match as ‘50/50’.
Winger Lloyd Isgrove will play his first game since recently agreeing to extend his loan spell until the end of the season, whilst young strikers Harry White and Bradley Ash are pushing for a place on the bench.
Meanwhile academy starlet Matty Templeton has penned a new deal which will keep him at the club until 2017, with the Reds having the option to add a further year.
“To make my home debut and score was a dream come true,” said the 19-year-old, who netted in the 4-2 win over Blackpool last month.
“I’m determined to work hard and make more memories like my home debut.”