Barnsley (a) – 02/01/16

Barnsley BadgeAfter an indifferent Christmas period, which saw Millwall lose 1-0 at home to Walsall, before thumping Southend United 4-0 just two days later, the year of 2016 begins with a trip to Barnsley. Tykes fan, Andrew White, takes up ‘The View From The Opposition’…

Name: Andy White

Twitter: @Andy_White

First Barnsley game: My first game was an enthralling 0-0 draw at Oakwell against Bradford City. I was just six years old and can’t remember anything about it. I wish I could say the same about many of the subsequent matches over the last 28 years…

Greatest moment following Barnsley: The obvious answer would be another Oakwell encounter with Bradford, on April 26th, 1997, when a 2-0 victory secured us promotion to the Premier League for the first and only time in our history. But, I honestly see the 2000 play-off final against Ipswich as my proudest moment following the Reds – to see my club at the old Wembley, just a few months before it was demolished, walking up Wembley Way etc… ah, that was something else. The 4-2 defeat and beginning of our decline hasn’t taken the shine off it either. Great day.

Saturday’s game begins the year of 2016 – what are your hopes for Barnsley over the next 12 months?: In the short term, it’s to get away from the dreadful idea of relegation to the ‘fourth division’ – Monday’s win over Blackpool helps. We also have a potential Wembley date – as do the Lions (we might see you there). But, over the next 12 months, I’d hope to see us getting away from building a squad on short-term loanees, to make a fist of getting back into the Championship and for the club to see sense on the pricing of match day tickets; not exactly asking for much – I support Barnsley, it’s better that way…

How do you view Millwall’s chances of reaching the top six at the halfway point of the season?: Monday’s victory was a big one I presume, as it looked like you were slumping recently, after turning a poor start to the season around. I saw you as a play-off contender before a ball was kicked, but then I thought we would be, too, so I’m not much cop at this predicting lark. But, I would suggest it’s wide open for any side to get into that top six mix. We’re only halfway through the season and this division is full of sides who aren’t too dissimilar. A run of victories could propel anyone up the table – even us.

Who are Barnsley’s ‘ones to watch’ on Saturday?: Again, the obvious answer would be Adam Hammill, who is unplayable at times; it’s pretty ridiculous that he’s playing at this level. But for me, the best player at Oakwell is Conor Hourihane and he has been since the day he signed, 18 months ago. I’ll be stunned if he’s still here on February 1st.

Likewise, are there any Millwall players that you will be wary of?: I saw the reverse fixture in August and Fred Onyedinma stood out massively – he looked a talent. Mark Beevers is a Barnsley lad, so I know about him and I really liked Ed Upson when he was at Yeovil. I’m not sure if Lee Gregory will be fit, but he’s a goal threat.

Finally, how do you see the game going?: I expect us to concede at least once. We’ve not kept a clean sheet in the last 18 games and have been regularly conceding two a game in recent weeks. Luckily, we’ve been scoring ourselves with some regularity – that’s why our form has picked up a little. I’m useless at predictions, like I said earlier, so I’ll go for…

Score Prediction: …a totally random Barnsley 0-0 Millwall. And I’d be satisfied with it.

Andy’s Team Prediction: Davies; Wabara, Long, Mawson, White; Isgrove, Pearson, Hourihane, Hammill; Winnall, Watkins.

Barnsley and Millwall both kick off their respective 2016’s at Oakwell this Saturday, January 2nd. Kick-off is at 3pm.