Bristol Rovers’ Joey Barton on Barnsley, Michael Duff and potential show of ex-Burnley boss Sean Dyche
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The Gas head to Yorkshire off the back of a 1-0 victory over Oxford United. It was the Gas’ first home league victory of the season, and that makes it two wins in a row, placing them third in the League One standings.
Duff - who left Cheltenham Town this summer - is in charge at the Yorkshire club and is a close friend of Barton.
The pair had a successful time together at Burnley, winning the League One title back in the 2015/16 season, playing under Clarets boss Sean Dyche.
Dyche could be a neutral spectator at the match tomorrow after watching two of his former players go into coaching and make a success out of it.
“He said: “He is a top fella Duffo! He was part of the group at Burnley when we had a fantastic team and won the Championship.
“I have shared some special memories with him, we have had a bit of a taste of him when he came with Cheltenham last season in the League Cup.
“He’s had really good teams, he’s another Dyche (Sean) disciple. I don’t know whether Sean is going to come.
“I spoke to him earlier in the week and he said he was at the Barnsley vs Cheltenham game last week. For us being ex-players for the manager and now both on the coaching side of it.”
Barnsley are expected to be contending for promotion this season but have so far had a slow start under their new manager.
Seven players have been brought in including Rovers transfer target James Norwood, as well as Nicky Cadden from Forest Green Rovers and Bristol City’s Robbie Cundy.
As well as incomings, they have also had to sell influential forwards Cauley Woodrow and Carlton Morris to Luton Town, whilst Callum Brittain has moved to Blackburn Rovers.
Luke Thomas - who was at the Memorial Stadium last season - has played his way back into first-team plans at Barnsley and is one player that could cause them problems.
Barton’s view on Barnsley was: “It’s a team I expect to be in the shake-up for promotion at the end of the season. We go there with nothing to lose as we’re underdogs.
“It’s a lovely feeling, it wasn‘t that way last year. We’ve shown that granite, solid chin and we will need to defend properly in all aspects against Duffo’s team and they always test you physically.”
“It will be 3-5-2, he is always well drilled in terms of defensive aspects. They will test you from set plays.
“They also have LT (Luke Thomas) in there. We are going to have to be at our best. They have lost Cauley Woodrow and some key components, they may do in between games, Callum Styles has been linked with a move away.”
The match comes in the middle of a very tough week for Barton’s men against two contenders for promotion.
On the back of having already beaten play-off chasing Oxford United, they face Barnsley who are expected to bounce back from last season’s relegation from the Championship.
But following the conclusion of their match in Yorkshire, they also face a tough trip to Portsmouth on Saturday at Fratton Park, getting a real taste of how tough the competition is in League One this season.
Both teams have had experience of playing in the Premier League before whilst Pompey tasted FA Cup success back in 2008 before a tumble through the divisions.
He said: “You have to play them all twice and you have to go to some tricky places, they say the key is getting solid home form and to get the win on Saturday is big.
“We go now into tough away fixtures but we have to go in with confidence. We’ve got two wins on the spin, two clean sheets on the spin.
“We are adding players to the group and we have players coming back from injury and the group is getting stronger.
He added: “We know they (Barnsley) are a good side and they will be expected to get promoted at the first attempt because they have been relegated out of the Championship.
“We know we will have to be at our best and another full team performance to take maximum points. We will go there with a strategy and hope to cause them problems.”