Barnsley vs Sunderland Preview: Tykes and Black Cats looking to bounce back from Championship defeats

Barnsley host Sunderland in the Championship on Saturday with both sides looking to bounce back from defeats in their last league games.

The Tykes suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of newly promoted Sheffield United at Bramall Lane last week, while the Black Cats were beaten 2-0 at the Stadium of Light by an impressive Leeds United side.

Tykes looking to rectify poor start

Paul Heckingbottom's side continued their poor start to the Championship season with last week's 1-0 defeat against the Blades, with Billy Sharp's header ensuring the three points remained in the Steel City.

They secured their first win in the league earlier that week with a 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest as goals from Matty Pearson and Ryan Hedges ended Forest's 100% win record.

Defeats against high-flying Ipswich Town and Bristol City leave Barnsley 20th in the league table, although Heckingbottom will not take too much notice of that with four games gone.

Hedges and Tom Bradshaw have got off to solid starts in all competitions despite their team's poor start overall, with the two both netting three times in five appearances including a 4-3 Carabao Cup first round win over Morecambe.

Much like their opponents, the Tykes have not kept a single clean sheet in the league so far with Sunderland's sole shut-out coming against League One outfit Bury in the Carabao Cup first round.

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Sunderland's hard work undone after Leeds defeat

Sunderland got their season off to a solid enough start with 1-1 draws against play-off contenders Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday alongside a 3-1 away win against Norwich City, but that hard work was undone in last weekend's 2-0 home defeat at the hands of the Whites.

Leeds exposed Sunderland's defensive frailties, particularly down the left side, without their main striker Chris Wood who has since joined Premier League side Burnley.

Simon Grayson knows there is still work to be done in terms of his squad, telling The Chronicle that he expects this to be the "busiest window there has ever been" with the deadline looming.

West Ham United's rumoured interest in the industrious Didier Ndong could throw a spanner in the works for Grayson, as the Gabonese midfielder has arguably been Sunderland's star man so far.

Their 2-1 win over League Two Carlisle United in midweek was used as an opportunity to rest key players ahead of Saturday, with Ndong now the only man who has started every match for the Wearsiders.

Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan have struck up a solid partnership in attack so far with the former scoring three in four Championship games, while the latter is known for his presence up top rather than outright goal threat, as he is still yet to register for his new club.

Winger Aiden McGeady will be the main creative spark for the visitors with his pace and trickery, as the Irishman has already shown with one goal and two assists in four Championship appearances for the Black Cats.

Team news

New signing Dimitri Cavaré will be forced to wait to make his Barnsley debut with Heckingbottom saying that the defender is "not quite there" after arriving at Oakwell with a hamstring strain.

Fellow defender Liam Lindsay played in a behind-closed-doors friendly in midweek and could be involved in Saturday's squad but Zeki Fryers, Lloyd Isgrove and Cameron McGeehan are all injured.

Defender Angus MacDonald begins his three-match ban on Saturday after his sending off in last week's 1-0 defeat at Sheffield United.

Sunderland are without Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair with the pair still on the road to recovery after picking up serious injuries last season, while Jack Rodwell could be involved in the squad after missing Carlisle due to illness.

Robbin Ruiter could take over from Jason Steele in the Black Cats' goal after impressing on his competitive debut in midweek.

Predicted line-ups

Barnsley (4-1-4-1): Davies; Pearson, Jackson, Pinnock, McCarthy; Williams; Hammill, Moncur, Potts, Hedges; Bradshaw.

Sunderland (4-4-2): Ruiter; Galloway, Koné, Browning, Jones; McGeady, Cattermole, Ndong, Honeyman; Grabban, Vaughan.