In many seasons gone by this match might, to the outside observer at least, look like the quintessential second tier fixture. Barnsley and Leicester City have won more points at this level than anyone else, a combined total of 6000 in fact. And whilst it would be farcical to claim the destination of the next three points will have an irreparable impact on the fortunes of these two teams come late April, they remain important nonetheless.
For Barnsley, the realistic aim for the season seems to be a comfortable mid-table finish. But it would be surprising if the Tykes did manage to steer clear of the relegation dogfight throughout the season. Three home fixtures so far this term have resulted in three defeats, including a League Cup humbling at the hands of Morecambe. The Tykes have failed to score in three of their five league matches this season and have made just 15 attempts on target, the fewest in the Championship.
Fresh from toppling Southampton in their last league outing, Leicester will be confident of another three points at Oakwell. The Foxes are unbeaten on the road this season and have beaten Barnsley 18 times on their own patch. The Tykes have registered 15 home wins against the Foxes.
City have won nine of the last ten meetings between the two sides, indeed Nigel Pearson is the only Leicester manager to fail to take three points at Oakwell since Mark McGhee. Sven’s first visit here resulted in Leicester’s first away win by more than one goal at this level in 33 attempts.
But Keith Hill might be sensing Barnsley’s luck is starting to turn. At Reading his side emerged 2-1 victors despite conceding three penalties, and Millwall were unable to break down the Tykes last time out. Another clean sheet against a Leicester side boosted by the signing of Jermaine Beckford would go some way to proving that Barnsley fans should not be too concerned about slipping out of the Championship next year.