Barnsley boss Lee Johnson takes his side to East London hoping for a seventh consecutive win . The Tykes have been in superb form since Danny Wilson’s sacking in February but Johnson described the trip to Orient as “the toughest game yet, it will be the real marker“. Johnson returned to former club Oldham on Saturday picking up three precious points in the race for a play off spot but “it wasn’t a great game but we were professional”.
- Barnsley have 6 straight wins – Scoring 11 and conceding 1.
- Only Bayern Munich (scored 27, conceded 2) have a better record in last 6 games across top 6 European Leagues (England, France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Holland)
- Conceded first goal in 499 minutes at Oldham
Barnsley travel to Orient knowing that their fixtures don’t get any easier, with games against Bristol City, Preston and Sheffield United following. “There is work to be done, this isn’t a Johnson side yet. It was a tough game and it was good to come away with the win” said Johnson after the Oldham match. The Tykes have risen in recent weeks with key victories and after results went for them on Saturday, they sit in the last play off spot on 53 points, 1 behind 5th placed Sheffield United.
Defender Lewis Nytanga netted twice on Saturday in their victory but understands that “it is the beauty of football, things can change in a short space of time but we all know it can go the other way”. Barnsley were 17th at the turn of the year but have finally found some consistency which had been missing in the early part of the season. The defender was “annoyed that we let a goal in but we won the game. The recent clean sheets have come from the whole team, we defend as a team with everyone working off the ball to do their jobs”
- Barnsley have kept 5 clean sheets in their last 6 – prior to that had only kept 6 in first 30 games of season
- Conceded 1 goal in last 6 – conceded 48 in first 30 games
Orient bounced back from consecutive defeats to register only their fourth home win of the season at home to Yeovil on Saturday. Johnson stated that “they are an excellent team who are in false position, just look at who they have on their books. We need to keep the hammer down with complacency being the factor that could let us down”. Orient scored 2 goals in the first 7 minutes on Saturday but Johnson was “happy how his side played the atmosphere” on Saturday in his first trip back to Boundary Park after leaving last month.
- Orient have scored 6 goals in first 15 minutes of home matches – 4 of them have come in last 3
- Orient have won 3 of their last 5 when scoring first
- But the Tykes have netted first in 8 of their last 11 games – winning 8 and losing 3
- All 4 of Orient’s home win have been by 3 goal margins
Jobi McAnuff netted his third goal for Orient on Saturday and pointed down to the fact that “the first goal helped to open the game up”. “We were really focused and wanted to start the game well, we looked a real threat and had numerous chances to score more”. The O’s form has improved as players have regained fitness and form in the team with McAnuff describing everyone as “chomping at the bit to get a bit of the action”. Liverani spoke after the win describing it “as very difficult to choose 11 players from the 23 man squad”.
- Orient have only lost 1 of 5 games they have scored first at home – 3-1 loss at home to Bristol City
- Barnsley have picked up 16 of their 21 away points when they have netted first – Won 5, Drew 1, Lost 2
- Only 1 win when conceded first away which came in their first away match of the season – 2-1 victory at Crewe
- Lost the last 7 away matches they have conceded first
O’s will need to be weary of forward Conor Houirhane who netted his 12th of the season at Oldham for the Tykes with Johnson keen to praise the front man “he was assured and the calm head; he had the perfect balance: fire in the belly and ice in the head”. Hourihane netted his 1st goal in 13 games but George Waring has stepped in brilliantly to keep the Tykes form going. Waring has scored 4 in his last 4 with everyone ready to play their part with the Tykes already having 14 different scorers this season. Nytanga aludded to the fact that Peter Rammage remains the only absentee for Barnsley.
“Their will be competition for places until the end of the season and we hope to get better as we go on”
Nytanga says his side go into tomorrow’s clash with confidence “they are a good team towards the bottom of the league and we know it is not going to be an easy game”. The Tykes coasted past the O’s in December at Oakwell but Johnson is key to point out that at Oldham “we didn’t have much going forward apart from the set pieces”.
Nytanga grabbed his 2 goals from set pieces and was thankful to Hourihane, “he has a great delivery, it is something we have been working on, attacking set pieces on the training ground and seems to be paying off”. The Tykes could provide a threat from dead ball situations in E10 with all Orient fans knowing how poorly their side have defended from set pieces this season.
- 4 out of Barnsley’s last 6 goals have come from set pieces – all 3 at Oldham started from a set piece
- 7 out of their 11 goals in their six match winning run have been from set pieces
- Orient have struggled all season from defending set pieces
- Hourihane has scored 12 and assisted 9 of Barnsley 50 league goals – 42% of their goals involved the Striker
McAnuff stated that “we want games coming thick and fast, if we repeat Saturday’s performance, we will give any team in this league a game”. Orient face 2 of the sides in and around them in their next four matches (Crawley away and Coventry away) and understand that every game is crucial in battle for survival.
Chris Dagnall grabbed his 10th league goal of the season and third in four games with Fabio Liverani high of praise for the front man. “Dagnall is an important man for the team, he play more than others”. Dagnall faces one of his old teams tomorrow and “is really looking forward to the game, all we can do is concentrate on ourselves”. Orient haven’t fared too well against sides in top 6 compared to Barnsley against the bottom 6.
- Orient played 8 – picked up 4 out of possible 24 points (4 draws and 4 defeats)
- Barnsley picked up 20 out of possible 30 points against bottom 6 – Won 6, drew 2, lost 2
- The Tykes have won last 3 meetings between sides with Orient’s last win coming in 1970
- But the games this season are the first time the two sides have met in 30 years
Orient could be without Mathieu Baudry who had to go off on Saturday with a hamstring with Ryan Hedges (thigh), Marvin Bartley (knee) and Darius Henderson (ankle) set to run off slight knocks picked up on Saturday. Barnsley have a fully fit squad apart from Peter Rammage who remains absent for the Tykes.
An early goal seems inevitable looking at recent games, but Orient have reduced their down fall for most of the season in late goals. The O’s haven’t conceded a goal past 80 minutes in their last 8 games and the East London club would sit 19th, 2 points above the relegation zone if games ended at 80 minutes.
Despite Barnsley’s recent defensive record and Orient’s 3 clean sheets in last 5 games, both teams will certainly have chances to score and wouldn’t be surprised if they do.
Prediction either side to win 2-1. Head says Barnsley may just nick the game but heart says Dagnall to net the winner in the second half.