Having faced each other in the Championship only three weeks ago, Barnsley and Norwich City will meet again on Saturday to compete for a spot in the fifth round of the FA Cup.
The Tykes have not made it past round four of this competition since 2013, when they went on to reach the quarterfinals, while the Canaries made it to the last eight only last season, before being knocked out by Manchester United.
The winner of this tie will host Chelsea or Luton Town in the next round, depending on the outcome of the fixture between those two teams on Sunday.
Barnsley head coach Valerien Ismael confirmed on Thursday that goalkeeper Brad Collins is set to start between the sticks instead of Jack Walton. Rare starting positions could also be handed to players such as Toby Sibbick and Patrick Schmidt.
Recent additions Carlton Morris – who joined from Norwich – and Liam Kitching are both cup-tied for this game as they each played in the earlier rounds of the competition for other clubs.
Meanwhile, Norwich will be missing several key players for their trip to South Yorkshire. Midfielder Kenny McLean recently tested positive for COVID-19 so will begin a period of isolation, while Todd Cantwell is out with a back problem. Teemu Pukki and Christoph Zimmermann are also not quite fit enough to make the matchday squad yet.
Having completed their isolation periods after testing positive for COVID-19, Bali Mumba and Xavi Quintilla are getting closer to a return but neither player will feature for the Canaries at Oakwell. It is also worth noting that striker Adam Idah is expected to be back in full training soon following a long period on the sidelines with a knee injury.
Barnsley: Collins; Sollbauer, Andersen, Helik; Brittain, Mowatt, Palmer, Styles; Adeboyejo, Woodrow, Frieser
Norwich: Krul; Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Sorensen; Tettey, Rupp; Hernandez, Dowell, Placheta; Hugill
Having lost their last three league matches, Barnsley will be very keen to record a victory this weekend. On Tuesday evening, the Tykes were beaten 1-0 by promotion hopefuls Watford at Vicarage Road, with Troy Deeney scoring the only goal from the penalty spot.
On the other hand, Norwich will be in confident mood coming into this cup tie having won all of their games in 2021 so far. The Canaries produced one of their most convincing performances of the season on Wednesday night against Bristol City, who were on the wrong end of a 2-0 defeat thanks to a brace from Jordan Hugill.
To reach this stage of the competition, both teams recorded 2-0 home wins in the third round; Barnsley defeated Tranmere Rovers at Oakwell, while Norwich overcame fellow Championship side Coventry City at Carrow Road.
Ones to watch
Polish centre-back Michal Helik has been a regular in Barnsley’s defence since signing for the South Yorkshire club back in September. The 25-year-old plays a key role for the Tykes as part of a back three which has operated successfully since the arrival of Ismael as head coach.
Helik has also demonstrated his ability to score goals, having notched four already this term, including one against Tranmere in the last round of this competition. He could come up against fellow countryman Przemyslaw Placheta on Saturday, which would make for an interesting battle.
Having missed the last three months of the season with an adductor injury, Cuban winger Onel Hernandez returned to action for Norwich as a substitute at the end of Wednesday’s victory over Bristol City.
There is a good chance that Daniel Farke will choose to rotate his side for this match, which means that Hernandez will be in the running for a starting spot. When the Canaries won the Championship title in 2018/19, the 27-year-old played a vital role, and he will see this weekend as a big opportunity to impress in order to get himself back into the team regularly for the promotion run-in.
When these two sides met in East Anglia at the start of January, an entertaining match was settled by a fantastic second-half volley, which was scored by Norwich’s Emi Buendia. The Argentine’s goal secured a 1-0 victory for the Canaries on the day, and also extended Norwich’s unbeaten run against Barnsley to four games.
The Tykes last defeated the Canaries in December 2016, when strikes from Tom Bradshaw and Conor Hourihane helped them to a 2-1 home win. Portuguese striker Nelson Oliveira – who now plays for AEK Athens in Greece – was on the scoresheet for Norwich on that day.
The last FA Cup meeting between these two teams took place in January 1992, with Norwich running out 1-0 winners at Carrow Road. Interestingly, the Norfolk club went on to reach the last four of the competition in the 1991/92 campaign, only to lose to Sunderland in the semi-finals.
How to watch
This match will kick off at 3pm on Saturday January 23 and will be broadcast live on BT Sport Extra 5.
What the managers have said
Speaking ahead of the game, Barnsley boss Ismael revealed that he and his players are as keen to perform well in the FA Cup as they are in the Championship.
He said: “I love the cup competition in any country. It is the same with the FA Cup – it is something special.
“We take the competition very seriously; it is a chance to advertise the team on our way to play football, for people to speak positively about Barnsley and that is why we have to use it, take our chance and we will fight from the first minute until the end.”
Norwich reached the quarterfinals of this competition last season, and Farke has revealed that he would love for his side to reach the latter stages again.
“We want to be as successful as possible in the FA Cup,” Farke stated. “Each and every win is good for the mood and reputation and it brings respect from the opponents.
“We will not worry about the next round too much yet. Barnsley are a top side, they had many COVID cases when we last played them. They will be unbelievably difficult to play against tomorrow. They will be motivated, it will be a real battle.
“The players have to earn the right to start. We need some fresh energy and recovered legs on the pitch. There are a few players after long-term injuries who need minutes. The most important topic is that we are there with a strong starting line-up without risking injuries.”