Friday, 5 October 2007

Bring It On Barnsley

Barnsley are the third Yorkshire Club we have met this season and the results so far offer a positive forecast, having disposed of Sheffield Wednesday in a superb 2nd half display, resulting in a late 2nd goal for Iwelumo and all three points, this was followed last Tuesday by the 2-1 victory at Hull. For anyone not on the various message boards, you will have failed to have seen the vitriol that has followed from the Hull fans, ranging from comments about the teams performance, the alleged assault by Sam on their innocent captain to a much wider denigration of London and the South in general, comments that have been racist, despite their own ethnic players including JJ Okocha. Thats not to say that our own message board contributors have not added their own spice to the debate, but i have never seen any clubs fans come onto our board and prolong their own defeat for so long, surely by now they should be looking forward to palace. It has certainly been an eye opener regarding the fans of a Club in the City where I spent three great years working. Hopefully, Barnsley will come down and their fans show a bit more class win, draw or dare I say it lose. Of course, Barnsley are a real Yorkshire club, Hull have only ever really had honorary status, to allow them to play Cricket for Yorkshire, before they dropped that rule.

The Valley has pleasant memories for what I believe was the last time we played Barnsley, the first game of the season after relegation from the Prem. I was on holiday, sunning myself in France and sampling some of their grape juice, as Super Clive put three goals past them and for us to start our return to the Prem. with a 3-0 victory. The rest is history, our paths went in different directions as they plummeted and we progressed to a safe mid Prem. position, until Dowie / Murray / and Reed contrived to pull it all apart last season, whilst Barnsley on the other hand gained promotion season before last and have made a pretty good start to this one, now lying 4th and a victory against us tomorrow could see them go second.

Barnsley's start to the season has been overshadowed by an impressive start by Bristol City, but Barnsley put paid to that mid week with a 3-0 thrashing of their ( and our rivals). There should be a familiar face in Barnsleys colours, the return of another player let go by Curbs as not good enough, to the chagrin of the fans, Jamal Campbell-Ryce. Curbs may point to the fact that Jamal has been with Wallsall, Southend and now Barnsley since his Valley days, but who knows how he would have turned out, if allowed to develop his partnership and learning with Paulo Di Canio. Many fans will have the memory of the equaliser in the last minute that he set up for Paulo in the League Cup match against Luton.

I'll go for a 3-1 victory to Charlton tomorrow, as our strength as a unit is beginning to show, added to the skill level we have at this level. There is unlikely to be any of the gamesmanship, alleged by Hull, on show, but if there is then all it shows is that we are growing up as a team and understanding the realities of the real world of successful football. That said, it will not be easy, Barnsley will probably be the best side we have played at home this season and an early goal - something we are not noted for - maybe needed to unlock their defence.

As for the team, I would stick with the Hull turnout, unless we can get Thatch or Gibbs match fit - nobody should ask a 38 year old to play as many games in such a short period as we have done of Chrissie Powell (accused by the Hull fans as being a cheat - which if you know the player you would laugh out of court). Thomas for Sam, with Ambrose on the bench.

Weaver, Mills, Fortune, Bhougherra, Powell, Thomas, ZZ, Semedo, Reid, Iwulemo, Varney. Subs Randolph, Sodje, Ambrose, McCleod, Todorov or Moutakill.

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