Another away game and another poor result – that was the bleak outcome of the visit of Barnsley to Burnley on Tuesday night.
It was genuinely a game of two halves. In the first 45 minutes, Barnsley more than contributed to a very lively and even first half. However, the second half was a return to the recent dismal display at Reading.
Early in the second half The Tykes allowed Chris Eagles far too much space and he punished them with a good strike to give the home team the lead.
This knocked the confidence of the Reds and heads seemed to go down as Burnley continued to overrun their opponents. So it was no surprise when further goals through a Chris Eagles penalty and a Chris Iwelumo strike sealed a comfortable win for The Clarets.
Further bad news for manager Mark Robins was the serious knee injury to Jay McEveley, who is likely to be out for 3-4 months. As cover, the Reds have brought in Matt Hill from Wolves.
Tomorrow Barnsley face a second away trip this week, as they take on Coventry City at The Ricoh Stadium. The Sky Blues lost their midweek fixture to Cardiff City 2-1 and overall have a mixed home record this season having lost two and drawn one of their six home games in the Championship.
Barnsley have never played Coventry in either the FA or League Cup and of the 50 League games between them have only won on 12 occasions. The team from the Midlands took all six points last season with Coventry winning the game at The Ricoh 3-1, Jon Macken getting the Tykes consolation goal.
Of the 25 visits to Coventry, Barnsley have won just twice, these coming way back in the 1921/22 and 1923/24 seasons. In the last five visits to The Sky Blues, Barnsley have conceded 16 goals and taken just a point. So there is no comfort in the history books for Mark Robins or Reds fans.
However Mark Robins remains upbeat and ahead of the game said, "…I do not have any concerns about team selection for the weekend and I know exactly what I am going to do and how we are going to go about things.
"We have to put to bed this poor run of results - not performances - away from home. It is a mental thing and hopefully we have got to the bottom of it since Tuesday. We have to put in a good performance for the full match and that is the key…I am really looking forward to this one…the players understand where I am coming from even more so now.
"We had an important meeting on Wednesday and we have to make sure we take those words on into this weekend's game. We have had time to reflect and we are not too far away from things. It is difficult to say that when you have just lost 3-0 away from home and everybody is disappointed and angry…”
Positive words indeed from the manager, but the proof will be at the end of 90 minutes on Saturday. More than just Blue Sky thinking is required for The Reds this weekend.
The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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