Sheffield United: Your guide to this weekend's South Yorkshire derby at Barnsley
Tomorrow’s game between Sheffield United and Barnsley at Oakwell, the 69th competitive meeting between these two clubs, sees both attempting to recover from a loss.
In the home side’s case, make that five losses in a row following a miserable run of form stretching back to mid-August. United aren’t in the best of shape either, despite making progress in terms of performance since the season’s first international break.
The Star’s James Shield identifies some of the important figures set to be involved in the fixture and also the statistics surrounding it, as United chase a 28th victory over their neighbours.
The Possible Teams: Barnsley - Collins, Helik, Moon, Hondermarck, J Williams, Gomes, Palmer, Brittain, Oduor, Leya Iseka, Woodrow. United - Olsen, Baldock, Stevens, Egan, Davies, Norwood, Fleck, Bogle, Ndiaye, Osborn, McBurnie.
The Referee: From Surrey, Gavin Ward will be overseeing a game involving United for the first time this season. But he did take charge of Barnsley’s 2-2 draw with QPR in August, when five players, including three of the visitors, were booked. Ward averages 4.5 cautions per game during the present campaign and has shown two red cards; both of which have come in Championship games.
The Form Guide: United have won four and lost three of their last eight league games, however three of those defeats have come in the four outings leading up to this match; including Tuesday’s reverse to Millwall. Barnsley have lost six and drawn two over the same period, with five of those losses coming in their last five appearances. The hosts have won only once this term, when Coventry City were beaten 1-0 at Oakwell in August.
The Goals: Barnsley have scored only one in their previous five contests, conceding eight in the process. United average exactly one goal per game in their last five, and have let in seven.
The Managers: Aged 47 and born in Graz, Austria, Markus Schopp replaced Valerien Ismael at Barnsley following the latter’s move to West Brom. A former midfielder, Schopp played for clubs including Hamburg, Red Bull Salzburg, Sturm Graz and New York Red Bulls before becoming a coach. All of Barnsley’s last five permanent managers or head coaches have come from overseas, whereas Slavisa Jokanovic became the first ever at United when he started work at Bramall Lane in July. Aged 53, he has previously managed the likes of Partizan Belgrade, Watford, Fulham and Al-Gharafa.
The History Lesson: United have won 40 percent of their previous matches against Barnsley, compared to their opponents’ ratio of 25 percent. However, United have tasted victory in only one of their last five visits to Oakwell, when goals from Steven Davies and Jason Holt fired them to a 2-0 win in 2015.
The Last Time: Oli McBurnie, now of United, scored one of Barnsley’s three goals when they beat United 3-2 at home in April 2018. Gary Gardner put the home side in front before John Fleck and Leon Clarke replied. However, after McBurnie had levelled the scores, Tom Bradshaw pounced in the 88th minute to hand Barnsley victory in a game which had seen United dominate possession (63 percent) and enjoy more attempts on goal (19/13).
The Details: Barnsley versus United, Oakwell, kick-off 12.30pm tomorrow.