BARNSLEY: Martin Cranie tips a Reds shock

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MARTIN Cranie is quietly confident Barnsley can spring a surprise against unbeaten Championship leaders Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park tonight.

The versatile former Coventry City player won plaudits from Reds’ boss Keith Hill for his “Rolls Royce” display in the club’s battling 1-1 home draw with promotion-fancied Blackpool at Oakwell.

And the 25-year-old is hoping a wave of confidence at the club can inspire them to an excellent result against former Premier League opposition.

Rovers have won three and drawn two of their opening league matches and the Reds have not beaten them away since a 2-1 win in August 1999.

“We gave a good account of ourselves against Blackpool and that gave us a lot of confidence,” said Cranie.

“They’re a brilliant team and we can hold our heads high after that performance.

“But there’s no games in this league that you can look at and say you’re going to get a definite three points.

“Blackburn are top of the league, but if we play well there’s no reason why we can’t take the three points.

“Our home record is very good at the moment, but we’ve got to take that form and make it count away from home.

“We haven’t done too well away and conceded too many goals, so we’ve got to be strong against Blackburn.

“They conceded three goals against Bristol City, so they’re obviously leaking goals at the back.

“But they’re also scoring a lot as well. We’ve got to be strong in defence and hopefully get a few goals ourselves.

“We’re mid-table, so a few more points this week would leave everyone pretty happy so far.”

Cranie knows Rovers’ in-form new signing Jordan Rhodes could be a handful if they don’t take away his attacking threats.

“He’s a proven goalscorer. He scored 40 goals last season and he’s taken that into the Championship this season,” added Cranie.

“They’ve still got a lot of Premier League playersand wil be strong all over the pitch.”

Barnsley’s Under-21s drew 3-3 with Wigan Athletic at the Oakwell Academy yesterday.

First-team keeper Luke Steele started his first game of the season since being sidelined with a prolonged groin and hip injury.

Squad players Lee Collins, Paul Digby, Jordan Clark and Danny Rose also started, as did new recruit John Rooney, the younger brother of England and Manchester United striker Wayne.

And Rooney scored on his debut, with Rose twice on target, as the Reds stormed into 3-0 lead only to be pegged back.