So, after yet another insipid home performance on Boxing Day, what better way to banish the holiday blues than with another home match three days later against a side made to look very ordinary in the away fixture earlier in the season? With this the second of four games in 10 days, Paul Tisdale may be tempted to shuffle his pack somewhat, although with Barnet hitting some reasonable form of late he may not earmark this fixture for changes after all.
Barnet, under the rookie management of ex-City midfielder Mark Robson, endured a torrid start to the season as they seemingly confirmed their tag of pre-season relegation favourites. It took until mid-October for the Bees to register their first win of the campaign, a 4-0 demolition of Northampton. Since then their form has improved somewhat and they enter Saturday’s match on the back of a very impressive 1-0 win at leaders Gillingham (and one in the eye for their former boss Martin Allen!). It’s probably no secret that their improved fortunes have been linked with the unlikely and inspired signing of Edgar Davids – the Dutch midfielder putting his boots back on to play (apparently for free) for his local club while cutting his teeth in the coaching game. Davids has settled in well, even apparently finding time to referee the matches he is playing in! Following the win at Gillingham Barnet are 21st in the table.
The return fixture this season ended with City coming away from North London victorious after a 2-1 win – Jamie Cureton notched both goals, the second one of the contenders for goal of the season, before Jake Hyde’s late goal ensured a nervy finish that wasn’t befitting City’s dominance of the match overall. The last time Barnet visited the Park was in the 08/09 season, with the same 2-1 scoreline – City’s goals through Neil Saunders and Matt Gill, sandwiching an effort from 73 year old Paul Furlong. City’s win that day was preserved thanks to a late Paul Jones penalty save. Overall City hold a slight lead in the head-to-head, 10 wins to Barnet’s 8 (8 draws).
Match day official information, here.
Visiting fans to St James Park, may like to read our very unique guide.