Thursday, 13 October 2011

Barnsley (H) 15th October 2011

Finally after what seems an eternity now, the Championship returns to our weekends with Pompey’s next game scheduled this Saturday at home to Keith Hill’s Barnsley who lay 16th in the table, three points ahead of Steve Cotterill’s men. The question on everyone’s lips is of course will they still be Steve Cotterill’s team come Saturday kick off at 17.20 live on Sky TV with the press linking him heavily with the vacant Manager’s position at Nottingham Forest after the departure of ex-England boss Steve McClaren, who resigned after his side’s 3-1 loss to Birmingham which left them fourth bottom in the Championship going into the international break. Forest aren’t the only side which have been linked by the press with a move for Manager Steve Cotterill with Bristol City reportedly having shown an interest as well.

Barnsley enter the game on the back of a seven game unbeaten run home and away having beaten lowly Coventry City last time out at home in a 2-0 win. Their last defeat came back in mid August to high flying Middlesbrough. Their seven game unbeaten run has seen them pick up eleven points, winning twice and drawing five. Whilst only scoring a total of eight goals in the process in that run, Barnsley only failed to get on the score line in one of those matches. Barnsley have only lost two games all season, once to the aforementioned Middlesbrough who lie second in the table and the other to top of the table Southampton so they visit Fratton Park high on confidence that they’ll come away with some sort of result against an indifferent Pompey side of late. Barnsley alongside Middlesbrough and Leicester remain the only unbeaten teams away in the Championship so far this season.

Pompey return to the league having suffered a 1-0 away loss to Leeds United where a first half goal from Pugh was enough to secure the home side all three points. Summer signing goal keeper Stephen Henderson made his league debut for Pompey in a side that looked lacklustre and short of form once more in the first half. A more spirited fight back in the second half sadly couldn’t find any way back for Pompey and their fifth loss of the season, a statistic that has seen many fans calling for his head since we last played.

The Barnsley match see’s Luke Varney available for selection once more after his three game ban after his sending off against Hull City away was served.  Striker Dave Kitson is set to be named fit again as he seeks to regain his place in the side having been sidelined for the past few weeks through injury.

Regular readers of PM will know that I like to throw in something a little different with every blog. The last time I went to Barnsley was on one of the coldest wettest days I can remember. If you’ve ever laughed at some poor sod taking a soaking on the Milton End before the days when it finally got a cover, then Barnsley fans will have taken the same amusement from the poor sods sad in the away end at Oakwell over the years. The weather was so bad that day that some poor old bugger sadly passed away from hypothermia and was stretchered out under a white sheet. It certainly wasn’t a day for fair weather fans and the long trip home in sopping wet clothes wasn’t the best it’s fair to say when everything was soaked through to the bone.

The Barnsley fans to their credit like a good sing a long in the rain it seems and I don’t know if this is a common occurrence of delusion from their home section but mid way through the game They started chanting ‘Brazil… It’s just like watching Brazil,’ as there midfielders attempted to spray the ball around on a wet pitch. Me always being the quick thinker started to shout back ‘Grange Hill, it’s more like watching Grange Hill,’ to the merriment of the fellow soaked away fans who all soon joined in. Well you’ve got to do something to keep warm.

It’s safe to say that having made the journey to Barnsley and ticked another ground of the list I won’t be in any hurry to ever go there again.

Fingers crossed for three points whoever the man in charge come Saturday afternoon. Our luck has to change sometime.

Play Up Pompey

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