Stoke City vs Barnsley preview: Tykes look to continue unbeaten run against struggling Potters
Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Two teams going in opposite directions clash in a key six-pointer at the bottom of the EFL Championship table as Stoke City host Barnsley at the bet365 Stadium.

The Tykes have restarted the season unbeaten with two wins and a draw, including a 2-0-victory over Blackburn Rovers last Saturday, marking their third game in a row keeping a clean sheet.

By contrast, the Potters have gone winless since the season began again with two losses and a draw, including a 3-0 loss to Wigan Athletic in their last outing to drop into the relegation zone.

Previous meeting

Stoke recorded a 4-2 win at Oakwell last November. Sam Clucas opened the scoring on seven minutes with a deft chip and they doubled their advantage when Lee Gregory converted from the penalty spot.

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Cameron McGeehan halved the lead in the 47th minute before Joe Allen restored Stoke's two-goal lead from a corner. Clucas' second made it 4-1 before Barnsley substitute Patrick Schmidt rounded out the scoring. 

Team news

Nick Powell will return to the Stoke lineup following a one-game ban, but Tom Edwards picked up a foot injury in training and will join Joe Allen and Thibaud Verlinden on the sidelines. Romal Palmer was injured in the Tykes 2-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers. Otherwise, manager Gerhard Struber has a fully fit squad to choose from.

Predicted line-ups

Stoke City (4-2-4) Butland, Smith, Shawcross, Batth, Martins Indi; Cousins, Clucas; Ince, Powell, McClean, Campbell.

Barnsley (3-4-3) Walton, Sollbauer, Andersen, Williams; Ludewig, Styles, Mowatt, Ritzmaier; Thomas, Chaplin, Brown.

Managers comments

Potters boss Michael O'Neill is warning his side to not look at the recent run of poor play as they prepare for Saturday's crunch clash.

"They (players) can't afford to be down", he said. "One of the things we can't do is feel sorry for ourselves because that is not going to get us anywhere. It's better to clear the air."

He also spoke of the recent play of Barnsley, stating that "we're playing against a team tomorrow that, in many ways, have played as if they're already relegated if I'm honest. They've played with a lot of risk."

The Tykes are confident and Struber talked about the positive feeling the club has with recent results.

"The last games, especially the last game against Blackburn, gave everyone the right feeling", he said. "The last three games gave us the right conviction. From the other side everyone can bring a very good performance and, in the end, we had a very good result."

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Despite Stoke's recent form, the Austrian isn't overlooking the danger the Potters present. 

"Right now we are in the relegation zone; we have six games left with big challenges remaining, especially when I think to Saturday --- the players at Stoke have been in the Premier League and this is a big challenge for us."

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