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As we arrive at the international break, it's hard to believe that we're nearly a quarter of a way in to the 2015/16 season already. Barnsley sit in tenth spot, having accrued an impressive 16 points from their first eleven games back in the EFL Championship.

There's still a long way to go for Hecky's boys. The travelling faithful will be jamming in to football hotels up and down the country, on the way to completing well over 5,000 miles on the road following the Reds, before this season's full journey comes to a close.

By the time the international break returns, our next block of fixtures will have featured Barnsley at home over four of those games, with the only exceptions being Brentford and Buton away on Saturday, 22 October and Saturday, 5 November respectively. Perhaps therefore, it's our home form that will count most as we play host to Fulham, Newcastle, Bristol City and Wigan over this influential series of matches.




If 'Fortress Oakwell' is to retain it's reputation, fans need to be mindful that we are currently averaging a healthy two points per game on home soil. A couple of wins and at least a couple of draws are needed to maintain this return. The question is, can we improve on our average of just one point per game away from home? Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom certainly feels the Reds are adequately equipped for this division.

“We’re playing against some really good quality at the minute and we’re holding our own.” ~ Paul Heckingbottom, 27, September 2016

With just one point gained from our last three outings, the doomsayers (often situated on the M1 slightly north and south of Barnsley) would have you believe our promising start was simply a fluke, our bubble has burst and the Championship has now 'found us out'. Don't believe them!

If this is where we are today, with a team that is just beginning to taste football at this level, just think of where we can be with more game time under our belts.

And as Camille Yarbrough (featured later by Fatboy Slim) famously sang, “We've come a long long way together, Through the hard times and the good, I have to celebrate you baby, I have to praise you like I should.”



What's your take on the season so far? We would love to gain your thoughts and opinions in the comments below. Please share this post far and wide, and thanks for reading.





Sour grapes? Maybe .. it's been a frustrating afternoon for this particular Red.

There may have been a few individual performances that had dipped below the recent standards they have set themselves. That happens sometimes. You would have to admit that Reading took their chances better than we did. And whilst statistics might suggest that Barnsley were the superior team versus today's visitors, it's goals that win games.

What galls me most is the negative way that Reading, but more especially Ali Al-Habsi, provided a masterclass in wasting time at every opportunity.




I simply wouldn't be doing my duty as a football fan and a defender of fair play, if I didn't use my vexation in a more positive way. So here goes. If any of his camel training mates are reading this, maybe you can share this post with him. And maybe next time he wants to waste a full hour and a half, please ask him to do it in his own time.

Out of generosity, here are 5 suggestions for Ali Al-Habsi and other would-be time smugglers:

1. Be King of France (nearly 5 times over)

Following his father, Charles X's, abdication on the eve of the 1830 French Revolution, Louis-Antoine d'Artois was technically king for a period of approximately twenty minutes on August 2nd, 1830. Louis-Antoine's only official act as king was to abdicate the throne to his nephew, the Henri, the Duke of Bordeaux.


2. Complete a full lap of the Earth during a space walk

According to Michael J. Massimino, an American engineer and former NASA astronaut, "Being outside during the space walk, the view of the Earth is just spectacular, and getting a chance to do that is just unbelievable, everything about it. You are going around the Earth at 17,500 miles an hour, so you have 45 minutes of sunlight followed by 45 minutes of darkness. You do a lap every 90 minutes."


3. Watch The Perfect Movie


There's a school of thought that says 90 minutes is the perfect length for a movie - the length of 3 TV episodes, just enough time to get in, tell your story, and get out without wasting any more of the audience's time. There are countless examples that prove the rule, economically told stories that feel perfect and tight without a second wasted. So crank up the 'Netflix' and be entertained by some of these examples: Airplane (88 minutes), Godzilla vs Megalon (78 minutes) or even Zoolander (89 minutes). You might even find a minute or two spare to enjoy a cuppa and a snack break too.


4. Stop smoking

Whether you are a light or heavy smoker, a casual or long-term smoker, smoke ‘regular’ or use ‘electronic’ cigarettes, Geoff Anthony reckons that he has a proven programme to make you a confident and happy non-smoker in just 90 minutes. So what's the catch? Unfortunately these specialist clinics only operate in the Republic of Ireland.


5. Take a day trip to Australia

Okay, we're maybe grasping at straws a little here. With current technology, the shortest journey from Europe to Sydney is around 30 hours. That's more than an entire day devoted to traveling. However, German space agency DLR has added their own solution to our slow travel problem: the SpaceLiner. This yet-to-be-developed vehicle would zip over the globe faster than the speed of sound, achieving this feat by flying higher than the stratosphere. Packed with rocket engine technology, the SpaceLiner would travel from Europe to Australia in just 90 minutes. You could realistically pop over to Grandma's for lunch and be back home for dinner.
Next up, Reading FC head up the M1 to Oakwell, unbeaten in four matches after a hard-fought goalless draw with Birmingham in midweek.

Ahead of Saturday's match, we caught up with Dan from the excellent Royals blog, The Tilehurst End, to find out what we can expect from our opponents.



How would you sum up Reading's season so far?

Pretty decent, without really venturing into the spectacular. Jaap Stam's arrival has seen a totally new style put in place, as he seeks to turn us into a Dutch style outfit playing 4-3-3 with a heavy emphasis on possession. The possession point hasn't been an issue as we lead the Championship in that category but sadly it's not translated to many goals, with the club averaging the fourth lowest shots on target rate in the league. Sometimes it's frustrating watching countless passes around the back, but Rome wasn't built in a day and unlike Brendan Rodgers, who tried similar with us seven years ago, Stam has been picking up regular points. The jury is still out, but so far, so good.

So where do you think you'll end up?

A solid midtable finish is on the cards unless we make some big signings in January. I think we'll flirt with play-off contention but I could equally see us going on a bit of a slump. I'll say a 10th placed finish right now.

Who should we be wary of on Saturday?

Winger Garath McCleary seems to have rediscovered the mojo that saw him linked with a host of Premier League clubs a few years ago, while Roy Beerens has shown glimpses of why he was so highly thought of coming up in Holland. John Swift has been excellent since arriving from Chelsea but injury has slowed him down in recent weeks.

Any Barnsley player that's caught your eye?

We were heavily linked with Tom Bradshaw last season so it was disappointing to see him head to another Championship club, and he now seems to be hitting into form. Likewise, Adam Armstrong has the potential to be a cracking player and I'm slightly surprised that Newcastle let him go again.

Any fond memories of games between the two sides?

We've had some fun days out at Oakwell over the years, with a 4-0 win in 2012 being one of the best. Personally I enjoyed watching us earn our first win over Brendan Rodgers with a 3-1 win in 2009, that led to protests against the manager from unhappy Tykes fans!

Any not so fond ones?

My first season watching the club was the 94/95 season when our two clubs were locked in a battle for the final play-off spot. I remember you came to Elm Park in the March and absolutely drubbed us 3-0 and it was the first time my young self had ever seen us humped so heavily (sadly not the last!).

Finally, give us a score prediction?

I'll say 1-1.


Rewind to 15 March 2015. Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal taunted his neighbours and City rivals by stating "Whether they want that or don't want that, that is the position," said Van Gaal after United's 3-0 win over Spurs. "It is a rat race. They are in it."

Whilst fancy, overpriced, Premier [Fantasy] Football is not our fayre or preferred topic, the observation Van Gaal made was probably a more accurate description of the pressure cooker that is League One and the intense battle that is being played out by almost every side in the top twelve.

In our recent post in this series, we gained an insight from those fans whose teams still have a realistic shout at an automatic spot. No doubt, last weekend's battling draw at Oakwell versus Preston North End, will have been appreciated at Stadium:mk and the County Ground.

Today, we look at the nearby 'Rat Race' for the most realistic last [two] places available. And with confidence seemingly brimming from every quarter around us, should Barnsley fans start praying that a 'plague' of poor form consumes our rivals?



Sheffield United

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?



We haven't got any of the teams [who are currently occupying] the top six left to play, but saying that, our current form has been poor, so I would be looking at maybe around 18 points [76 points in total].

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?



We have still got three local teams around us; Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers and Chesterfield. I see us getting all six points from the two fixtures against Doncaster (7 April) and Chesterfield [3 May] at home. Barnsley are in such good form at the minute, so I don't see us getting anything there.

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?



I think we could finish in sixth position just, but with the form the teams in and around us are in then it will more than likely be seventh.

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?



I think it would probably be considered a success, but I think for our club [Sheffield United] it should be at least the play-offs as a minimum.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

Poor, drab, unenjoyable football and lacklustre in the final third. 

Thanks to Callum Cheswick for his contribution.
Follow on Twitter @Calblade147 or catch his updates on Vital Sheffield United

Peterborough United

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?



[Short and sweet] 69

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?



To me a banana skin would be a game which we lose and as result no longer have our play-off position within our own hands - so that would have to Barnsley away [Sat 18 April]. I personally fear every fixture now that we have sixth place though, I don't want to lose it!

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?



[To the point] Sixth (just)

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?



At the start of the season it would have probably been seen as a failure, but after the run we've had it can only be seen as a massive success.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

An absolute roller coaster, where we lost many games and lost many faces, but in the end it looks like everything has come good.

Thanks to Kelly Green for her contribution.
Follow on Twitter @kellmarie92

Rochdale AFC

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?



I reckon sixteen more points for us between now and the final game. That would take us to 69 points going into that last game of the season. Will 72 points get us in the play-offs?

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?



As above, that last game of the season at Oakwell sticks out somewhat. It could be a cracking winner takes all fixture for the final position in the play-offs, especially with the return of a certain Mr Hill. All the pressure will be on the home side, and I'm sure Barnsley fans will fear the obvious scenario.

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?



My gut feeling says that we'll finish outside of the play-offs. We are in good form right now and with games in hand, the balls in our court and all that, but I reckon we will be hard pushed to fully maintain it between now and the end of the season. 

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?



If we finish in the play-offs, it will be our highest placed finish in the club's history, so it's fair to say that it will be a considerable success. The feeling seems to be that reaching the play-offs would be the success, and it being a stepping stone to the Championship seems almost secondary. I guess that is what comes from having spent most of your life fighting it out in the 'Rochdale Division'. 

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

A typical Keith Hill season where we've achieved beyond all expectations, making a mockery of the financial disparity between ourselves and our peers.

Many thanks to Col Cavanagh for his contribution.
Follow via Twitter @RochdaleAFC.com or catch his updates on RochdaleAFC.com

Doncaster Rovers

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?



We have been very inconsistent of late, this coupled with the fact that we have some incredibly tough fixtures ahead of us in the coming weeks, it’s going to make it difficult for us to accumulate many points. I can see us finishing on the 66 points mark come the end of the season.

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?




The next game is always a potential banana skin! We have some big games coming up against the likes of MK Dons, Bradford City and Sheffield United to name a few, and if we buckle under the pressure against these promotion contending sides, it could have an adverse effect on our run-in.

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?



I’ve said since the start of the season that we would finish around the ninth/tenth mark, so I’ll say ninth. There are so many teams in the play-off hunt who have a lot of momentum and we could struggle to catch-up if we lose vital games against them.

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?



In the overall context of our season, not getting a play-off place shouldn’t be regarded as a total failure. Obviously, expectations are raised when you are in and around the play-offs at the ‘business end’ of the season. So for this reason, I feel that a handful of fans could see a finish lower than 6th place as a poor season, especially after competing very well against some very good Championship sides during the previous season.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

Tactical naivety and individual errors, coupled with poor home form. 

Thanks to James Errington for his contibution.
Follow via Twitter @JimmyDRFC


Thanks for reading. If you have any views on how you think the final league table might look, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook, or leave your comments on this post below.

The season is now well within its final quarter. At long last, excited Barnsley fans can actually look forward to the remaining schedule of fixtures that lay ahead. Alive with hopes and dreams, the potential rewards are in our sights and within our each. Dare we dream of a possible end-of-season hurrah at Wembley? Could we escape from League One at the first time of asking?

With only five points separating fourth placed Sheffield United to twelfth placed Doncaster, it could be a race between seven teams (including the Reds) for the [most realistic] last two spots. The latest odds with Paddy Power sees us 4/1 to finish in the top 6, and 20/1 to achieve promotion.

Bristol City may have all but guaranteed their safe berth to the Championship, as any capitulation at this stage would be one of biggest reversals of form ever seen. Of course, football folklore is being written all the time, even when the scenario might seem impossible.




What do those fans who are closest to their teams think? Is confidence in abundance throughout the top half of the division? Doing the mathematics and predictions for us, we spoke to some of our rivals in League One who gave us their low down on the climax to the 2014/15 season.

Bristol City

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?

I would like to think, with the form we've shown this year, that we can reach three figures [in points] and win the league - beating Wolves' total the other year.

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?


Preston North End (Away, Sat 11 April) could be interesting, if the gap is closed between now and then.

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?

I would be disappointed if we're not top. We've been there for the majority of the season.

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?

Failure. We are guaranteed the play-offs now. Getting that [outcome] would be a major fail.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

Driven, togetherness on and off the field - led by the this season's best manager and influenced by the fan's passion.

Many thanks to Stu Radnedge for his contribution.
Follow on Twitter @stu_radnedge or catch his updates on The Exiled Robin.

Preston North End

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?

The aim for any team is to pick up two points a game, on average, over the season. Anyone who does that is almost certainly promoted. If we keep up this impressive form then we might challenge Bristol City for top spot, but just getting out this league is the priority.

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?

We've got to play Bristol and Swindon, but both at Fortress Deepdale where we've only lost once all season in the league. Barnsley are flying under Johnson and this weekend's game will be tough. Saying that, there are no gimmies in this league, it's one of the closest leagues in terms of ability, as everyone is on a pretty level playing field in terms of finances. Our run in isn't that tough on paper, but as we all know; Anyone can beat Anyone.

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?

Head says second, but would love to pip Bristol City to top spot. Getting promoted at Port Vale would be fantastic - given their love for our main man Garner.

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?

Please don't mention those words! Nine play-off failures, the worst in English football. If you had offered me a play-off spot in January, when we had a horrendous month (not winning a league game) I would have probably snapped your hand off.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

A steady start that has blossomed since the return of the Jackal and the purchase of  Daniel Johnson (from Aston Villa for a rumoured £50k fee).

Many thanks to Jimmy for his contribution.
Follow via Twitter @baysidepne / @pnefansteam

Swindon Town

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?

I don't like to speculate about points tallies, but I would have to say it will need to be pretty high for how tight the league is.

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?

Any game has the potential to be a banana skin at this stage of the season. The games I most worry about are the away game against Bristol City, Preston North End and the home game to MK Dons [Sat 4 April]. These games will surely decide whether or not we achieve a top two place this season. 

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?

I hope we make second [automatic] place, but my head tells me it will be third place.

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?

We were considered relegation favourites [at the start of the season] so to achieve the play-offs would be a massive success. However, after being in and around the top three for the whole of this season, I think there would be a slight air of disappointment.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

A young vibrant squad that loves upsetting the odds.

Many thanks to Calvin Hothi for his contribution.
Follow via Twitter @CalvinHothi45

MK Dons

Based on your form and any remaining fixtures, how many points do you think your team will accumulate in total this season?

Hard question to answer with any certainty, but I expect us to achieve 85 points plus. Depending on Preston North End's run in and form, we might just squeak into the second automatic position, but it's the play-offs that look like being the most likely.

Are there any potential banana skins during the final leg of the League One season or any specific fixtures you fear?

If you look at our run, the stand out fixture is away to Swindon in April and that could well define our end of season position. Win or draw and we could push for the Auto's, lose and it's the play-offs. Our results in the big games this season has been great though. Other than Swindon, the Fleetwood Town fixture (Away, Tues 14 April) looks very tricky.

Where do you think your team finish in the League One table?

My head says third or fourth, but my heart says second.

Would a play-off place be considered as success or failure for your club?

Pre-Season, most of our supporters would have been ecstatic at the thought of the play-offs, but we went on that fantastic run of form and topped the table, which brought a great deal of optimism that we could even go on and gain an automatic place. If it is to be the play-offs for us, then whether we deem it to be successful or not will depend on the ultimate outcome, of promotion [to the Championship] or another League One Campaign.

Whilst it's slightly premature to be asking, can you sum up your season in a single sentence?

A season of great highs, winning against Manchester United 4-0 and some very low points like losing to Coventry and Chesterfield [three times], all in all though a season that gives us the confidence that the club continues to move in the right direction.

Many thanks to Franchise Don for his contribution.
Follow via Twitter @EMKAYdons18

Watch Out For Our Next Instalment

If you want to learn more about the perspectives offered by fans of Sheffield United, Peterborough United, Chesterfield, Fleetwood Town, Bradford City or even Doncaster Rovers, watch this space. Part two of this blog series should be live soon.

Thanks for reading. If you have any views on how you think the final league table might look, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with us on Twitter and Facebook, or leave your comments on this post below.