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Preview: Barnsley v Blues

We would be fools to think that the run we are in would make today easier. It is going to be a tough game. Barnsley are not going to give the points to us, so we need to make sure we deserve them and work hard for them.

Pep Clotet.

Our full match preview ahead of tonight's Sky Bet Championship between Barnsley and Blues at Oakwell (7.45pm kick-off).

Pep Clotet on his side's current run of good form...
"It’s a very good moment, in our eyes it is a reward for all the work we put in under very difficult circumstances during Christmas. At that time, we started to identify things we needed to be much better at. We have worked a lot since then to get out and improve those details and fine-tune a few details. We have much more control in our performances now – and we had the reward of getting some deserved results. But I am very aware that the whole situation can lead us to complacency.I always go on a game by game basis; the run has no impact on my mentality. When the game starts it doesn’t matter how many games everyone has won, or where anyone is in the table the only thing that matters is who is going to deserve that win the most and who is willing to pay a bigger price. We would be fools to think that the run we are in would make today easier. It is going to be a tough game. Barnsley are not going to give the points to us, so we need to make sure we deserve them and work hard for them."

Pep Clotet asked if looked at the league table...
"I understand a lot of people look at the table and a lot of people if you win a game they look who is above you, you lose a game and you look who is below you. If I looked at the table, I would do the opposite, I would win a game and look below me, I will lose a game and look above me – but I don’t. What I do llok at now is Barnsley, then Saturday is another one. I will look at the table after the last game of the season. The only thing that matters is today and going the extra mile at Barnsley."

Pep Clotet's take on what sort of side Barnsley are...
"A team that is very clear what they want to do, as a club they have a long-term vision for the club that translates into the recruitment and development of a young side. It is a great experience for them coming from League One into the Championship, a huge challenge for a young side. Taking all this into account they are doing very well because they are buying themselves a chance to stay in the league and they have the quality. It’s a football proposal I like. I think they recruited for it and they are working hard at it. I think the conditions of Barnsley are right that they don’t give extra pressure to the players. That makes them a team that is very difficult to defend, they have a lot of desire when they lose the ball to get it back, they are thinking about the game not the table and they know every point they scrap is like gold. It’s a very difficult place to go always – that’s the reality. I know enough about the Championship to know everyone can beat everyone. I would be a fool to think that we have a team that can steamroller, we don’t. We need to be focused, fight and play hard and we need the support of the fans like we had in Bristol."

Barnsley boss Gerhard Struber's comments ahead of the game...
“We need the attitude of winners; this is important because it is a difficult game against a big opponent, and we can do it. We must show our fans a good performance, hard work and this is what the fans need from us. Birmingham are in fine form as they head into this clash; unbeaten in their last eight outings in all competitions and safe passage into the Emirates FA Cup fifth round secured. It was very important that we stopped the row of defeats. It’s always a good feeling when we can change the performance, and this is the most important thing for our self-confidence that we have a good feeling together. In the last time, we had many changes with new players, and I think this was a break in the dynamic in the team. Now, we are stable, and I hope we can create a good performance with a high intensity.”

Blues team news...
Josh McEachran (ACL), Jacques Maghoma (thigh) and Kerim Mrabti (hamstring) remain out. Maikel Kieftenbeld is not quite ready for a return to First Team duties, despite being back in full training and playing two Under-23s game.

Barnsley team news...
January signing Marcel Ritzmaier will be missing because of a knee injury. Goalkeeper Sami Radlinger is out with a muscle strain. Centre-half Bambo Diaby is currently suspended by Barnsley because the FA are currently investigating a potential anti-doping violation.

Last five meetings between Barnsley and Blues...
Championship 20 Aug 2019 Blues 2 Barnsley 0
Championship 24 Feb 2018 Blues 0 Barnsley 2
Championship 04 Nov 2017 Barnsley 2 Blues 0
Championship 31 Dec 2016 Barnsley 2 Blues 2
Championship 03 Dec 2016 Blues 0 Barnsley 3

Total meetings between Barnsley and Blues ...
Barnsley wins: 24
Draws: 20
Blues wins: 38

Form guide last five league games...
Barnsley: WLLLD
Blues: WDDWW

Line-ups last league games...
Barnsley (4-3-1-2) v Sheffield Wednesday: Collins, J Williams, Sollbauer, Andersen, Oduor, Mowatt, Simoes (Schmidt,83), Thomas (Styles, 62), Woodrow, Brown, Chaplin (Bähre, 68).
Subs (not used): Walton, Ludewig, Halme, Dougall.

Bristol City v Blues (4-4-2): Camp, Colin, Pedersen, Roberts, Clarke-Salter, Bellingham (Boyd-Munce 89), Gary Gardner, Sunjic, Bela (Harding 76), Jutkiewicz, Hogan (Dean 82).
Subs (not used): Trueman, Montero, Keita, Concannon.

BluesTV...
Pay per view
This game will be available to watch for just £10. If you’re an existing international package subscriber you will not need to purchase a pay-per-view package, as it is included within your current subscription. Commentary will be provided by Dale Moon and Jonathan Bell. For more details click here.

Match officials...
Referee Dean Whitestone will take charge of tonight's game at Oakwell. So far this season the Northamptonshire-based official has refereed 20 games, where he has produced a total of 53 yellow cards, two reds, and awarded five penalties.The last Blues game he refereed was our Sky Bet Championship home fixture against Luton Town in October 2019. Blues won that match 2-1 and there were four players cautioned; including Marc Roberts for the hosts. He has refereed eight Blues games in total, with Blues winning three of them, drawing one and losing four. The last Barnsley game he refereed was their Championship away game against Derby County in January. The Tykes lost game 2-1 and the only player booked was Derby's Duane Holmes. He has refereed 13 Barnsley games to date, with The Tykes winning four of them, drawing two and losing seven. Mr Whitestone will be assisted this evening by Steven Meredith and James Wilson with Ross Joyce acting as the fourth official.

Tickets...
As of today (Tuesday 11 February), Blues had sold 1,350 tickets from our allocation of 1,948 tickets. Blues supporters will be able to purchase tickets this evening at Oakwell. There will be a £2 price increase on all tickets. Adults, seniors and young adults can pay cash on the North Stand turnstiles. Supporters that require a juvenile ticket can purchase them from the home ticket office on the South Stand. For advanced ticket prices, click here.

Supporter message...
The Club urges all supporters to be responsible in their behaviour and actions. Birmingham City knows that the overwhelming majority of our supporters do not indulge in anti-social activities and are passionate about the players and the Club. We appreciate this. We adopt a zero-tolerance stance on anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of missiles and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. Pitch encroachment is forbidden and against the law. Please DO NOT encroach onto the pitch. Any person found to be encroaching on the pitch will automatically be served with a banning order - regardless of the  circumstances. It is important that bottles, coins, flares and other items not thrown at our matches. Again, we would like to thank the overwhelming majority of supporters for their backing and their understanding.

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