The Robins have been struggling at late, as they've lost their last five games in the league, with no win to their name since the 2-1 victory over Huddersfield Town on January 26th.
Barnsley have hit the ground running in recent games, as they look towards a potential play-off push. The Tykes have been fantastic in their last two games, coming away with six points, beating title-chasers Brentford, and play-off outsiders Blackburn Rovers.
It was a thrilling reverse fixture at Oakwell between the two sides, with Cauley Woodrow scoring a penalty from the last kick of the game in the 102nd minute due to Michael Sollbauer receiving treatment because of the penalty incident.
A win for City would level them on points with Barnsley, but the Tykes do have a game-in-hand.
Assistant Head Coaches Keith Downing and Paul Simpson have now taken joint first-team duties, due to former head coach Dean Holden’s dismissal earlier in the week.
Unfortunately for the two coaches, they will have to cope without a numerous number of players this weekend. City remain without Andreas Weimann, Chris Martin, Alfie Mawson, Callum O'Dowda, Jay Dasilva and Joe Williams who are nursing injuries.
Woodrow was preferred to Carlton Morris against Blackburn, but the latter scored again from the bench, which surely puts a case for him being in the starting line-up this weekend.
Ben Williams, Liam Kitching and Aapo Halme are among their absentees for this game at Ashton Gate.
Bristol City XI:
Bentley; Mariappa, Kalas, Moore, Vyner, Palmer, Lansbury, Nagy, Hunt, Wells, Diedhiou.
Collins, Sibbick, Helik, Andersen, Brittain, Palmer, Mowatt, Styles, Chaplin, Morris, Woodrow.
Ones to watch
The Robins are in dying need of some goals, never mind a win, and if any man gets them out of that rut, it’s their top goal scorer Famara Diédhiou. He has eight goals in all competitions this season. The Senegalese forward will be desperate to find the back of the net, after despair in his last six games with no goals to his name. City has only scored twice in their torrid run of six games, they both came in the 3-2 loss to Brentford.
If he’s granted his wish of a start, Morris will be the one to watch for Barnsley. The forward has great physicality and power and is classed as a serious threat when driving at the defence. He spent the first half of the season on loan at MK Dons, in which he was recalled in January by his former club Norwich, later that day he joined Barnsley on a two-and-a-half-year deal.
Morris started in the 2-0 win versus Brentford, in which he scored on his full debut. In the next game against Blackburn, he was dropped back to the bench, but after coming on as a substitute, he changed the game and provided a goal and assist, as they overcame Rovers 2-1.
In recent years, Bristol City has seemed to be a ‘bogey’ team for Barnsley, as the Tykes haven’t beaten City since September 2012. Jacob Mellis was the goalscorer that day at Oakwell when Barnsley overcome City in a 1-0 victory.
Since that date, the sides have faced each other ten times. Bristol City have come away with four wins, while the others have been draws. In nine of these last ten matches, there have been four goals or more.
How to watch
You can watch the match by purchasing an iFollow match pass from either club's website.
Speaking to Robins TV, Downing said:
“There’s a steely determination to put that right and I can see that from the response in training.
“We’re all conscious we haven’t done enough going forward we haven’t threatened the opposition goal enough. We need to play with more positivity, aggression and intensity to try and get more end product. That’s the aim and the players are determined to do that.”
He added: “We need to be more positive going forward so the emphasis is on being as positive as we can be, take the shackles off a bit and play without fear. They weren’t in the first place but it’s about working hard, with intensity and getting out of this slump.”
Barnsley have now passed the forty-point mark with 17 matches of the campaign still to go - last season, they only achieved that feat with six games remaining.
Quoted from The Yorkshire Post, Tykes boss Valérien Ismaël said:
”We have 42 points, which is a great situation. But we need eight points to reach our first purpose and we need this as quick as possible and it is why the focus straightaway is on the game against Bristol to recover.
“Sunday was the first win in the Championship (in 2021) and this was the first win at home and it was important to keep the momentum going after the big win over Brentford and we did it.
“I told the guys to stay focused and keep the pressure high and do everything to recover until Saturday.”