Preview: Barnsley vs. MK Dons
Barnsley will look to make it three wins on the bounce and climb closer towards the playoff places in the League One table on Saturday, when they welcome MK Dons to Oakwell.
The Tykes strengthened their position in eighth spot with a victory over Shrewsbury Town last time out, while their visitors remained in the bottom four following a defeat to Derby County.
Barnsley come into the weekend’s home contest a point outside of the top six in the League One table, having bounced back after dropping out of the playoff places.
Michael Duff’s side sat in a strong position with 20 points from their opening 11 matches but then hit a tougher patch, going without a victory for the next four outings and managing just one point from a draw with Bolton Wanderers before suffering disappointing defeats at the hands of Morecambe and Lincoln City.
The Yorkshire outfit then managed to arrest their slump and return to winning ways when they hosted Forest Green Rovers at the end of October, triumphing 2-0 thanks to goals from Devante Cole and Josh Martin, before booking their FA Cup second-round place with a 2-1 victory away at Bolton.
In their bid to make it back-to-back three-point hauls in England’s third tier, Duff’s men made the trip to take on Shrewsbury Town last weekend, and after going ahead through Adam Phillips inside 10 minutes, they stood strong to see out a clean sheet and leave with all three points.
Such a result has seen Barnsley quickly climb back up to eighth spot and within a point of the top six, and they will aim to break back into the playoff spots with a third league win on the bounce at the weekend.
They meet an MK Dons side who have had a far tougher first half to the campaign, with Liam Manning’s men currently sitting in the bottom four after their third-placed finish last time around.
In their 17 third-tier games so far this season, Saturday’s visitors have managed to collect just 14 points and only put four victories on the board, with the most recent of those coming away at Charlton Athletic in October as Will Grigg and Bradley Johnson netted second-half goals.
In their bid to build on that triumph and climb out of the relegation zone, the Dons travelled to Cheltenham Town but had to settle for a goalless draw before enjoying cup wins over Taunton Town and Morecambe and most recently hosting Derby County last weekend.
Louie Barry put them ahead at Stadium MK, but Haydon Roberts instantly drew their visitors level on the stroke of half time, before James Collins and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing got on the scoresheet in the second half to take all three points for the Rams.
With that result seeing the Dons remain three points adrift of 20th-placed Accrington Stanley, Manning’s men will be desperate to turn their form around and begin climbing away from the threat of relegation starting with what would be an eye-catching result in Yorkshire.
Barnsley League One form:
Barnsley form (all competitions):
MK Dons League One form:
MK Dons form (all competitions):
We say: Barnsley 2-1 MK Dons
Barnsley have enjoyed a far stronger start to the season than their visitors, and with renewed confidence on the back of two straight league victories, they should take all three points at Oakwell.