Barnsley bring formidable away record to The Valley

In the League One Play-off final at Wembley last May a Barnsley side including Harry Isted and Slobodan Tedic suffered the agony of defeat to Sheffield Wednesday via a Josh Windass goal in the 123rd minute.

This season they look to be safely ensconced in the top six again with six games to go. They are not going to catch Portsmouth, Derby or Bolton but, despite the recent run of good form by Lincoln, it would take a major collapse to deprive The Tykes of another play-off spot.

They began the season with a 7-0 home win against Port Vale but it is their away form that has kept them in the hunt. Amazingly they have lost only once in nineteen games away from home all season (at Derby 0-3 in November). They will arrive at The Valley having won their last four games on the road (Burton 1-3; Carlisle 2-3; Wycombe 2-4; Fleetwood 1-2) following draws at Bolton, Peterborough and Lincoln and further wins at Oxford, Port Vale and Reading. If it wasn't for their inconsistent home form, they would surely be up for automatic promotion. They got their revenge on Derby with a 2-1 win at Oakwell at the end of February but since then, they have drawn at home to Cheltenham and Bolton and been beaten by Lincoln (1-5) and Cambridge (0-2). Charlton fans have been disappointed by recent drawn games but it does look as if a sharing of the points this weekend would be nothing to be ashamed of.

We certainly owe them one after the controversial 1-1 draw up there in December when the referee allowed an Adam Phillips goal after George Dobson had clearly ushered the ball out of play in the corner.

The Stevenage game on Easter Monday was a dispiriting spectacle. With many passes over hit and ball control almost non existent the game declined into kick and rush. There was no lack of effort but it was abundantly clear that there needs to be an infusion of quality in the summer. Fans were also puzzled by the fact that Kazenga LuaLua hasn't appeared since his promising cameo at Fleetwood.

Assistant manager Paul Hart faced the press in advance of the game while Nathan Jones was away with a family matter. He said:

“We’ve got a great bunch of lads who have really put their lot in over the last eight weeks. We’ve dug out results, we have played well and got results. We’ve also played well and not got the results that we have deserved in terms of wins instead of draws. We have a group of players that are giving their all, that is a massive head start on anybody. We are very pleased with that. We have to round off the edges here and there. You can’t do everything overnight.”