Barnsley Steele themselves for Palace Visit

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Barnsley manager Mark Robins is to be admired for his insistence that he wants the team to play in the right way.

However, given the winless start to the campaign, Reds fans would settle for three points and a gritty 1-0 win tomorrow against Crystal Palace.

A number of things must happen if the Tykes are to get such a result though. Firstly, there has to be battling and focus from the team throughout the 90 minutes, even when decisions go against the team.

Secondly, the Reds have to conjure a goal from somewhere, something not achieved in the 180 competitive minutes so far this season.

Thirdly, the crowd needs to stick with the team. The result tomorrow is more important than the performance. Lastly, the defence has to keep a clean sheet, again something not achieved yet in the new season.

Defence is a team responsibility, but ultimately comes down to the man between the sticks. This responsibility falls on Luke Steele, who in goalkeeping terms is a youngster at 26.

He is probably known outside of Oakwell for his performances during the legendary FA Cup run in 2007-07 whilst on loan. In 2008-09 Luke started the season, but was dropped and ended up playing only ten League games that season.

The next campaign was a better one for Steele, and Tykes fans will agree he was instrumental in ensuring Championship survival.

His start to this year has been unsteady, but a clean sheet tomorrow will ensure a point at least and raise the confidence levels around Oakwell. The Reds custodian needs to show that he is on his metal, and produce a display reminiscent of those we've seen countless times before.

For the record, last season's honours were even in both games. In the Tykes last game before Christmas 2009 at Selhurst Park, Barnsley dominated the first half and took the lead through Daniel Bogdanovic.

Palace came back into the game in the second half and equalised through Victor Moses, ensuring the game finished 1-1.

The Eagles came to Oakwell in March this year and it was a game in which the Reds did everything but score. Barnsley’s 19 attempts on goal compared to Palace’s 6 attempts, but it meant nothing as the game ended 0-0.

Oakwell needs to become a fortress where visiting team dread to come to, and Barnsley need to get the ball rolling tomorrow.

*The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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Luke Steele

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