What a difference three games makes for Tykes

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An in-form Barnsley will be looking to make it four wins on the trot with the visit of Watford on Saturday.

The Hertfordshire side have hit a bit of a slump recently and have only taken two points from their last six matches. But as they have already won four games on the road this season, including an astonishing 6-1 win at Millwall, the Hornets should not be taken lightly.

The first game between these clubs was in 1911, when the Tykes beat the Hornets in the FA Cup 2-0. It is the only occasion the clubs have met in either the FA or League Cup and bizarrely all the League meetings have taken place in the fifty years since 1960.

Last season at Oakwell, Barnsley won the fixture 1-0 with a second half goal from Emil Hallfredsson. The Icelandic midfielder spent a year on loan with the Reds before returning to Hellas Verona in the Italian Third Division.

It is hoped that the recent success of the team will be rewarded with a good crowd and the club has reduced ticket prices to encourage people to get down to Oakwell. However, there has to be an air of reality about the Tykes and how this season will pan out. A look at the four English divisions show that the gap between top and bottom is not that great.

Take for example how Barnsley have fared in November. On the first weekend of the month the Tykes lost at home to Leicester City and dropped to 18th place, just two points away from next to bottom Middlesbrough. Whispers started around the corridors of Oakwell that perhaps time was running out for Mark Robins at the club. 

Without an away win since February last season, the Reds were looking vulnerable. Then out of the blue, they went to Preston and Ipswich Town and won both games on their travels and followed it up with a home win over Portsmouth.

Suddenly the picture is very different and the club is thinking about a play-off spot as they are just two points away from Nottingham Forest in sixth place.

It’s a cliché, but it has to be one step at a time, starting with a victory over Watford on Saturday.

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

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