When Barnsley arrived at The Valley two months ago they were in top form and looking a good prospect for an immediate return to The Championship. They had just thrashed Peterborough at London Road 4-0 and had followed it up with a 3-2 home win over Luton. They were in third place with a game in hand. Charlton in contrast, having lost 3-5 at Scunthorpe and 1-2 at home to Coventry, had slipped to ninth. Our 2-0 win was thus a welcome surprise although, as it was followed by a draw with Oxford and defeat at Rochdale, it didn't immediately signal a revival.
Barnsley's form since then has been solid rather then special and they dropped out of the play-off places in mid December. However recent wins at Blackpool (0-1) and at home to Peterborough (2-0) mean that they are back up to fifth and that they will go above Charlton if they win this weekend's encounter.
The Tykes' danger man is Kieffer Moore. Having plied his trade at Truro, Dorchester, Yeovil, Forest Green and Torquay, Moore was plucked from National League obscurity in January 2017 when offered an eighteen month contract by Ipswich. The jump in class was too much, however, and, after failing to score in eleven outings, he was loaned to League One Rotherham where he scored 13 in 22 games. Barnsley came in for him in the January 2018 window but once again The Championship was too demanding (4 goals in 20 games last season). Back in League One he is thriving again with eleven League goals plus two in the FA Cup.
Charlton need to bounce back from a poor performance and yet another late goal conceded at Coventry on Boxing Day. The good news is that Lyle Taylor and Karlan Grant are likely to be able to start but the problem is in midfield where George Lapslie is likely to join Joe Aribo among the recently injured. A longer term worry is that two more yellow cards for Taylor before the middle of March will bring a two game suspension. At his current accumulation rate he could even miss the Sunderland game on January 5th.
It looks like a tough assignment. But, looking on the bright side, we haven't lost in our last three trips to Oakwell and that of course includes the 6-0 win in April 2013.