What a bizarre month November was for the Tykes. It started disastrously with a home defeat to Leicester City, which was then followed a brilliant run with victories over Preston, Ipswich and Portsmouth and ended with a whimper after a draw with Watford. 

Football does require a bit of fortune and after giving the Reds a helping hand in the run of victories, ‘Lady Luck’ decided to desert Barnsley in their last game at Oakwell. The Tykes more than deserved the win, but the woodwork saved the Hornets in the second half.

Adam Hammill's free-kick struck the Watford uprights, as did Jacob Butterfield's shot shortly after. These were just two chances amongst a hatful that Barnsley produced.

Whilst disappointing for the Oakwell faithful, the Tykes remain mid-table and just six points off the play-off spots, with a game in hand on those in the play-off positions.

Last Saturday, Mark Robins’ team were denied, due to the weather, a trip to Doncaster Rovers. However, another South Yorkshire derby awaits the Reds this weekend as Sheffield United visit Oakwell.

The Blades have not really recovered from the early season decision to sack Kevin Blackwell. Gary Speed has not been able to bring any consistency to his team and in their last game were well beaten 3-0 by Bristol City at Ashton Gate.

However, the Tykes don’t have a great recent home record against the Sheffield Reds. Last season, Barnsley led twice through Anderson de Silva and (now Blade)Daniel Bogdanovic, only to be pegged back by two Darius Henderson penalties.

In fact, Barnsley have not beaten United at Oakwell since the 1999-2000 season, when two goals from Neil Shipperley either side of half-time, secured a 2-0 win.

Mark Robins will be hoping that his team will continue their unbeaten run and come out on top in the South Yorkshire derby - an early Christmas present indeed for Barnsley fans as the Festive Season looms.

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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