Having been so poor away from home since the heady days of the early weeks of the season, the performance in securing a 1-0 win in difficult conditions at Bristol Rovers was a sight to behold – and testament to what can happen if you begin the game on the front foot. The one major blight in the match was the departure of Ben Purrington on a stretcher having looked solid since joining a couple of weeks ago. Sonny Cox also left the match early but is expected to be fine to lead the line. Elsewhere City’s search for a striker needs to intensify a week ahead of the closing of the transfer window, especially as James Scott has now departed to St Mirren in an attempt to resurrect his stalling career. With Purrington assumed to be missing for some time, that could open up a slot on the bench for the likes of Vincent Harper or Caleb Watts, who returned to action last week in the closed doors friendly against Southampton, unless there is good news on the striker front between now and Saturday.

Barnsley appear to have brushed aside the departure of their manager for what turned out to be a short-lived spell at Swansea, as well as rumours of financial issues in the summer, and are jostling for position near the top of the table as expected of a club of their stature. Neill Collins has got his side firing and the Tykes’ league form has been sensational, now unbeaten since a 3-0 reverse at Derby in mid-November. Like City, Barnsley were in action in midweek, winning 1-0 in a promotion six-pointer at Oxford. Devante Cole, hoping one day to shake off the “son of Andy” tag, continues to impress with 16 goals to his name, while Herbie Kane pulls the strings in midfield and has six league goals himself.

The reverse fixture was a close run thing with John McAtee notching the only goal of the game in the dying moments. However, last season’s trip to Oakwell yielded arguably the surprise result of the season. Managerless after Matt Taylor’s departure for Rotherham, Kevin Nicholson’s side travelled to a Barnsley side in barnstorming form only for goals at the start of each half for Jay Stansfield, his first for the club, sealed a 2-0 win. Indeed, City still have an overall league head to head lead – 11-8, with four draws.

The match officials for this game will be:-

Referee: Thomas Kirk
Assistant Referees: Callum Jones and Darren Williams
Fourth Official : Conor Brown

We last saw Thomas Kirk in November when he took charge of our 3-0 defeat to Fleetwood Town.

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Interview with Sonny Cox

Interview with Gary Caldwell

By Jason H

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