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Friday, 27 March 2015

The Inside Line: Bristol City v Barnsley (28/03/2015)

Well, what a week! Six days after 42,000 of us returned home from one of those special days at Wembley, City return to their ultimate target with a league match against Lee Johnson’s Barnsley. Little Lee just can’t keep away from Ashton Gate, can he. Perhaps a portent of times to come… 

This week Stu Radnedge spoke to Andy White, a Tykes fan who has renewed hope for their new regime.

“It's been a difficult season back in the third tier for we Barnsley supporters. The football on the whole has been poor/dull, results little better and we've had to say goodbye to yet another manager, the greatest we've ever had. First time around. Unfortunately, results and the failed product put paid to his second coming a couple of months ago now. Lots of us found it a harsh decision to remove Danny Wilson. We were mid table, anything could have happened. But the board sacked him after a 2-1 home defeat against Fleetwood Town. The caretaker managership then oversaw a 5-1 humiliation at Crawley Town (for which the travelling fans were reimbursed) before guiding us to two victories without conceding a goal. And then the very 'meh' appointment of Lee Johnson came about.

What has happened since then has revitalised the fanbase, the players and breathed new life into the dying embers of the league campaign. Two consecutive victories became six, with just one goal conceded and at last it appeared the quality players we knew we'd got had finally clicked as a team. Clicked so well that we now stand a fighting chance of making the end of season playoffs. Barmy game, football!

I have been very impressed with Johnson so far. The performances of his players haven't been standout to be honest, we've not all of a sudden looked world beaters. But the team now looks like a team. It's cohesive, it looks purposeful and well drilled. Not boring, but not thrilling either. He's basically come in and got them back to basics. We went a goal behind last weekend against form side PNE. A few months ago you'd have seen us lose that by three goals, surrendering I suppose. But we came out flying in the second half and got a well deserved and hard fought point. We weren't very good in the game prior to that, away at Orient, but our young keeper Adam Davies had a stormer and we fought for a precious point and goalless draw. Fight. We've now got some. And it's a trait that everyone supporting little old Barnsley expect from their side/players as a bare minimum.

Can we make the playoffs? I doubt it, deep down. I wouldn't rule it out, we've some exceptionally talented footballers for this division. But injuries are biting again. We've now lost Davies for a couple of weeks and had to emergency loan in a young kid keeper from neighbours Sheffield Wednesday. You might have heard of them? No? They're massive. No? Oh, ok then...

It appears you lot have had a far smoother ride this season. Stability, success, confidence, optimism. A trip to Wembley and what now looks a nailed on return to the second tier. I expected you to win the division, and you're going to do. With minimal fuss. Fantastic achievement, and momentum to take into a much harsher environment next season. I'll wish you all the best with that. And perhaps we'll see you there...?

Just a quick note to end - When we nearly beat you in the Oakwell fixture, we followed up that point with a victory over Sheff Utd and another against Colchester. The fixture list throws all three of those games at us again now, and so I'd be over the bloody moon if we take another seven from nine.

Thanks for reading, and good luck going forwards.” 

My thanks to Andy and Stu for this great preview. After holding Preston for us last weekend, let’s hope they can do us another favour this week and roll over to a nice zero points!


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