Barnsley have enjoyed great success over Leeds since they returned to the Championship, having played out a fantastic 5-2 drubbing at Oakwell last September, a 2-2 draw at Elland Road in the latter half of last season, followed by an impressive 2-1 win just a matter of weeks ago. The Reds were looking to go 6 unbeaten against Leeds earlier when they pitched up at Oakwell, with both sides having not won in their last 3, Barnsley with 3 losses, Leeds having gained a point away at Watford.

Tactically speaking
Barnsley made 3 changes to the side that played out the 3-1 loss to Blackpool at Oakwell on Boxing Day, with Bobby Hassell, Stephen Foster and Miles Addison coming in for Jim O’Brien, Rob Edwards and Ricardo Vaz Te.

From a recent invite we received, OnThePontyEnd was asked to provide our "Half-Term Report" on Barnsley FC for The Guardian's excellent Football League Blog.

Whilst the structure of the article and its content are brief, we would love to hear your reports, styled in a similar format, in the comments section to this post.

Read the Barnsley FC Half-Term Report

Related Post: Championship season 2010-11 preview
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Without a doubt the Reds have put together a fantastic run of results in recent times. From the first win in a generation at Elland Road, to a 7-goal thriller at Peterborough, Barnsley fans have certainly not been short of entertainment throughout the early winter months, with 4 wins in a row teeing up a potential play-off spot if Keith Hill’s surprise package side could have capitalised in front of the Sky cameras.

Saturday, however, signaled the end of this great run, with the Reds toppling to twelfth after a nightmare second half at Oakwell, following a typically dominant first half performance. We analyse this recent run, game by game, and speculate; just how far can this Barnsley team go?

English: Peterborough United's South Family St...
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Peterborough United can certainly not be called a boring team to watch. The Posh, managed by Darren Ferguson, have failed to see a 0-0 scoreline in nearly 100 games, a run that has continued longer than their manger’s tenure. The Reds have also not seen a 0-0 scoreline in a while, with Barnsley having not drawn 0-0 since the stalemate at Millwall back in August. Of course these respective runs could only mean one thing, goals were a given.

Tactically Speaking
The Reds made a change from their favoured 4-2-3-1 formation, instead opting for the classic 4-4-2, perhaps due to the suspension of anchorman David Perkins. Of course Keith Hill was immediately forced into one change due to the midfielder’s suspension, however made a further change, with Newcastle loanee Nile Ranger getting his first start in a Red shirt, whilst sporting what can only be described as a rather comical hairstyle inspired by Princess Leia, coming in for Ricardo Vaz Te. The aim was to get the ball into wide areas with Matt Done and Jim O’Brien providing crosses in from the flanks, into target men Ranger and Davies.

Following last week’s derby delight against Doncaster, many Reds’ fans like myself will have switched on Radio Sheffield for the post match reactions. It was said by the presenter at the time that whilst Barnsley had played well during the game, Doncaster had certainly put up a less than desirable fight, and most certainly deserved to be beaten. The presenter also added that the true test for the Reds was to come against Leeds United in their next game, which would provide a completely different challenge to Doncaster on the basis of their respective league positions, both past and present.

As discussed in my last post, “The Bank of Oakwell?”, Nile Ranger joined the Reds this week and was pushing to start in the Reds’ first on the road derby of the season, but only made the bench. Keith Hill also perhaps surprised fans with another selection, with Danny Drinkwater only returning to the bench following the suspension which kept him out of last week’s home tie against Donny, leaving the side unchanged from last week’s win.

I'm just loving Twitter at the moment. The ability it provides to have banter and feedback with fellow Reds fans and the opposition is almost limitless and instant.

Today proved again why OnThePontyEnd relishes the games against the so-called bigger teams, especially as we've just taken another notable scalp.

Starting this morning, I latched onto a ridiculously inaccurate post from the Leeds blog 'The Scratching Shed', The Arrogant Ramblings Of Deluded Barnsley Manager. Take a look at the post yourself, but that set my day up. I knew that Barnsley FC had the capacity to outplay Leeds United today, especially when the opposition take up such a pathetic superiority over our 'Little Club'.
Image by Getty Images via @daylife
This Thursday marked the end of the current loan window in which clubs could sign players on short-term ‘emergency deals’. The Reds took full advantage of the impending deadline, signing troubled striker Nile Ranger from Newcastle and former Barcelona youngster Gai Assulin from Manchester City, which was called off the day after it's announcement. However what must have come as a shock for the Oakwell faithful was not the ins, but the outs, with Nathan Doyle, who was in the running for player of the season last term, signing for Preston until Mid-January.

We take a look at the current loan activity, and in some parts lack of, at Oakwell.

It doesn't take the most inquisitive of Barnsley fans to know that Jacob Butterfield has been attracting a lot of media attention recently. In what will be seen in the eyes of many as a fantastic season so far for the youngster, the former Manchester United trainee has seen himself become a regular in Keith Hill's side, as well as being appointed as the club's youngest ever captain. And last week, seeing a call up to Stuart Pearce's England U21 set up.

But of course none of this has occurred on the quiet, and the midfielder has attracted the attention of a string of championship and premier league clubs, posing the question to Reds fans, how long can we hold on to Jacob Butterfield?

The Potential
Those in the know at Oakwell touted the youngster to really push on this season following an ok previous campaign. The midfielder showed glimpses of brilliance last term, but failed to find a comfortable position within the four man midfield and would often go missing in games, often being shoved out wide to compensate for injuries.

After scoring 2 goals and stinging the gloves of many a keeper, it was clear for many to see that Butterfield could potentially be a big part of the team in the forthcoming season, providing that he found consistent form.

Hopefully, everybody knows how passionately I and the rest of us feel about our beloved football club, but feel frustrated by comments from inside the club that claim we lack any "football education".

We are fully aware of the so called reality we are in, but basic standards were missing on Saturday, such as closing down the opposition quickly and reinforcing every effort with back-up. We were playing at a pace that was simply not exciting.

It provides no pleasure to anyone to criticise the team when our support is vitally needed, but let's be fair, it's a two way street.

Sometimes the fixture itself gives the occasion the edge, for example a clash with Leeds United or a strong ex-Premier league side and maybe one day again a lowly Sheffield team. But equally, when that isn't the case, the players have to demonstrate that it matters just as much.

Most fans will probably tell you, as they did to me, that four points from the next two games prior to the Bristol City game would be realistic. Now we need three points against Hull City and that might be a bigger ask.

Players will make mistakes, Barnsley FC will concede goals, fans will occasionally be nervous. But overall, if the effort is there, it will always be reciprocated.

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I'm going to burst my spleen with vitriol whilst I can still make sense of my feelings ...

Not Good Enough ... Against a team that has only recorded 6 points all season, making the trek up North, we simply didn't give them a worry!

Not Good Enough ... Butterfield voted as MOTM, when clearly McEverley appeared to be the only player who had woken from his slumber!

Not Good Enough ... The match announcer who must have forgot to go to Specsavers, when Craig Davies finally recorded his first goal, for it to be accredited to O'Brien?

Not Good Enough ... Ketchup in short supply at half time ... Sort it!

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Barnsley were soundly beaten by Cardiff City, at the weekend, in a showcase that saw the two sides score a combined eight goals. The game, played on Saturday, ended 5-3, in City's favour, with Icelandic player, Aron Gunnarsson, who joined Cardiff on a free transfer in July, scoring twice, to help topple the Tykes.

Cardiff took the lead after just ten minutes, with a Kenny Miller strike that left Barnsley goalkeeper, Luke Steele, grasping at thin air. Joe Mason, also at Cardiff, claimed the Welsh side's second in the 34th minute, just five minutes after replacing Miller at the front.

Undeterred, Barnsley's Danny Drinkwater found the net in the 36th, with a deflected free-kick, to put the game back within the Tykes' grasp. However, the Bluebirds were relentless; Gunnarsson's effort seven minutes from the break was a self-assisted volley from a Peter Whittingham cross making it 3-1 at half time. People looking at the Championship football betting will have been shocked by the goalfest.

Drinkwater came the closest to opening the scoring in the second half, but his strike collided with the crossbar. Cardiff's Don Cowie, a player who has drawn praise for his performance, on Saturday, scored his club's fourth goal on the hour mark, with a superb solo effort.

Gunnarsson's second put the match well beyond salvation for Barnsley in the 71st minute. However, two final goals for the Yorkshire team, courtesy of Jim McNulty and Ricardo Vaz Te, formed part of a rousing fightback for Barnsley. Vaz Te's goal arrived at the death, in the 86th minute. Anyone following the football betting will have known the game was all over.

The result means that Cardiff climb to eighth in the Championship, while Barnsley remain precariously balanced, in seventeenth. The Tykes now only have one point over Birmingham City, in eighteenth, and five over Watford, the highest-placed resident of the dreaded relegation zone.
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Young Barnsley winger, Reuben Noble-Lazarus, has received the hair-dryer treatment from his coach, Keith Hill, for spending too much time on social networking website Twitter.

Noble-Lazarus, who made his first start for the first time on April 25, earlier this year, in a tie with Doncaster tweeted about his ankle injury; more specifically, that he was on his way to meet a specialist. Anyone following the Championship football betting will know this is a blow.

The tweet was posted on October 19, on Noble-Lazarus' personal page, ReubenCNL. The 18-year-old posts regularly, on topics ranging from his activities at Barnsley, to his plans for the day.

"Reuben shouldn't be on Twitter for a start", Keith Hill told The Star. "Reuben should be concentrating on his career, unless he wants one in media. It's typical of youth today."

Hill suggested that Noble-Lazarus should "spend more time" with Barnsley's press officer, Mark Stokes, if he wants to "spend a lifetime Twittering".

Fortunately, for fans of Noble-Lazarus' commentary (all 845 of them), he has not stopped tweeting, despite his boss' apparent disdain for the player's pastime.

The youngster is currently one of a number of Barnsley players to have been ruled out of competition with an injury, Jay McEveley and Bobby Hassell becoming the most recent victims, last week. "We really are down to the bare bones", Keith Hill explained. Fans of football betting will be wondering how the side will get on in the coming weeks.

Noble-Lazarus, who has not had much of a season since scoring his first goal for Barnsley at the end of the 2010/11 campaign, said that his injury was "depressing", on his Twitter page
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After an impressive unbeaten run to match any top team, the Reds finally capitulated on Saturday in front of the Sky cameras after a long ride to Portsmouth saw David Norris and Luke Varney fire home only 90 seconds after one another to end the Reds' 7 game unbeaten triumph. There was no time for sulking however, as with a gap of only 3 days it was the turn of Burnley to visit Oakwell, where the Reds were looking to string together a run of impressive performances following the convincing win over Coventry City prior to the international break.
Burnley F.C.Image via Wikipedia
Eddie Howe named a former Oakwell favourite in his starting line-up, with former Manchester City loanee Kieran Trippier making his return to Barnsley little over 4 months after the expiration of his loan deal, which saw impressive performances at both Right Back and on the wing, in addition to key goals against Leeds United at Elland Road as well as against Doncaster at home. In addition to the appearance of Trippier, with former loanee (this time from Burnley themselves) Jay Rodriguez supporting Charlie Austin in attack alongside former West Ham youngster Junior Stanislas.

On The Ponty End has teamed up with Savile Rogue to give you the chance to win one of the world’s finest cashmere football scarves in Barnsley colours.

Savile Rogue scarves give a nod to football terraces of yesteryear, shunning in-your-face logos and cheap nylon in favour of a traditional bar design and the comfort, quality and warmth of top grade wool. It's the sort of scarf you would be happy to wear even when you’re not at the match.

Savile Rogue Barnsley 1 Savile Rogue Barnsley 2 Savile Rogue Barnsley 3

For your chance to get your hands on a Barnsley cashmere scarf simply Sign-Up to our Newsletter to enter before midnight on 31st October 2011. One lucky subscriber will be selected entirely at random and will be notified via email, no later than Friday 4th November 2011.

Read: Full Competition Terms & Conditions

You can follow Savile Rogue on Twitter or Facebook
Taking a breather during the International break, we thought we would bring you bang-up-to-date with the latest news from On The Ponty End's Fantasy Football League.

It's been 2-3 week's since we last visited the stats, but a new Leader is in place with Richard Wordsworth (Tarby's Tykes) now taking top spot from Kieran Bestall.
Enter Your Team in to OnThePontyEnd's Private League
  • First register at Texaco Fantasy Football 2011/12 and pick your squad.
  • Click "Private Leagues", scroll down to "Joining Private Leagues"
  • Enter Pin Number 1431 in to the box below and hit 'Find League'. If you are sure you have the right league, you must then click 'Join This League' to apply.
  • Once the League Chairman has accepted you in to the league, you will be able to view your table by clicking on the relevant Private League name on your team screen.
You can now keep up to date with the brand new iPhone App here
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Since Barnsley's return to the Championship in 2006, the team has clearly lacked in defensive options. Year on year, the Reds have ended the season with a negative goal difference, often only just staving off relegation from the league.

It was perhaps Mark Robins, the Reds' former manager who departed in the summer, who was the first to give the defence any credibility, when for two seasons in a row under his stewardship the Reds finished well clear of the relegation places. However under Keith Hill, the Reds have found arguably some impressive defensive form, with Barnsley currently on a zero goal difference for the first time, even at this stage of a season, for a long time, which has gone a long way in the eyes of many to push the Reds on for what has been a rather impressive unbeaten run.

This brief report will analyse exactly what the Reds are doing in order to close the floodgates of seasons gone by.

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Ten games is the traditional benchmark set by fans and pundits around the country to see how their team had progressed. As yesterday's match passed the important marker and signalled the start of the international break, it felt only appropriate to take an early insight into how the Reds' season has gone so far. We'll take a look at the early stats, analyse all the results, as well as assemble an early dream team, star player watch and take a look around the Championship at the early pace setters and at the teams flagging behind.

Early Struggles
It goes without saying that the Reds had a mixed start to the season under their new management team of Keith Hill and David Flitcroft. After earning a great point in their opening game on the road to fancied Nottingham Forest, the Reds came home to Oakwell and lost their first three games. The first was a League Cup tie to League 2 opponents Morecambe, who are currently flying high in the division. Perhaps it was not the result which disappointed many fans, but an inherent lack of effort which was contrary to what manager Keith Hill had set out as one of his expectations for the season. Following the game, Hill admitted he should have rested more players and given some different players a chance, which perhaps contributed to the Reds' downfall in the game.

Following the Cup exit, the Reds faced two league games at home on the bounce, with Southampton and Middlesbrough being the visitors. The Reds kept the current Championship leaders to just one goal, although came out the wrong side of a 3-1 result with Middlesbrough. These relatively poor performances signalled booing from a minority of Reds supporters, met with an equally angry reaction from manager Keith Hill, who asked for more time, saying that Rome wasn't built in a day.

In hindsight these results might have been expected, as Middlesbrough and Southampton are now flying high in the division, and have done so all season. Perhaps it was unfair of Reds fans to criticise the team so early into the season, as sometimes it is important to just accept you were beaten by a better side, an accolade that could be easily prescribed to both the Saints and Boro. Thankfully, these losses were to be put behind the team, and both the manager and fans would warm to each other... eventually...

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Fans attending yesterday's match could have been excused for expecting a draw before a ball was even kicked. Both Barnsley and Coventry prior to the game had become the draw specialists in the division, with the Reds drawing 5 of the last 6 and Coventry drawing 4 of their last 6 games.

Despite beating high flying Derby 2-0 at home recently, the sky blues have struggled to find form this season, with only 1 win all campaign, as well as only a point on the road thus far. The Reds however came into the game again searching for their first home win, although arguably the Reds have deserved much more at home, if only had they been able to cut out slight defensive errors.

The Reds again made just the one change due to injury, with Nathan Doyle coming in for the injured David Perkins, who has achieved somewhat of a following in his short stay at Oakwell. Miles Addison and Cameron Park made returns to the bench, with Addison ineligible to face his parent club on Tuesday, and Cameron Park having his loan deal from Middlesbrough renewed. Debutant Paul Digby and his academy teammate Jordan Clark dropped out of the squad as a result.

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Last night saw the Reds travel to high flying Derby County in order to try and retain their unbeaten away status. The Rams - who infamously bought former Reds skipper Jason Shackell in the summer, could have gone top of the championship last night had they beaten the Reds, after an impressive start to the season, which prior to last night saw them take 18 points from 8 games.

The Rams named a line up which included several names infamous to Barnsley fans, including former Sheffield United forward Jamie Ward, Huddersfield striker Theo Robinson, and of course former Reds captain Jason Shackell - who last night celebrated his 28th birthday.

It doesn't take a footballing expert to see that Birmingham have struggled to settle in to the Championship this season following their relegation from the Premier League. The Carling cup winners prior to yesterday had picked up just two wins all campaign, both at home, whilst losing their last 3 games and picking up only a point away from home.

The Reds however have arguably had a brighter spell lately, after failing to yet pick up a win at their usual fortress Oakwell, the Reds have turned to their impressive away form this season, where they are yet to be beaten. The Reds came into the game on a run of 4 unbeaten games, perhaps feeling a little frustrated to have only picked up 2 points out of 6 at home, which were more than deserved but for slight lapses of concentration.

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Barnsley might still have won just once so far this season, but Keith Hill is happy with how things are progressing and says there is "light at the end of the tunnel".

The Tykes have now gone four games unbeaten and, having lost their first three matches, there has been a big improvement in a short space of time.

Last weekend's 1-1 home draw with Watford was another step in the right direction and that result has lifted Barnsley up to 17th in the Championship, and it could have been even better, as those looking at Betfairfootball.com will know.

Tykes fans will feel they could have got maximum points from both last Saturday's clash with the Hornets and the previous home game against Leicester, which also finished 1-1.

Hill though is happy enough and, having made big changes to personnel in the summer, believes he is now stamping his "own identity" on the squad.

The manager said: "I can see the progress we're making, not just on the training pitch but in matches. It's encouraging and I'm enthusiastic about the future and where we can go."

So where can Barnsley go? Well the play-offs look a bridge to far for a first term in charge at this level for the manager and a lack of experience in the squad. Those following the Lee Dixon tips should bear this in mind.

But the board will be pleased with a mid-table finish and if the Tykes are safe from the drop with a couple of weeks to spare, then that will surely be job done and a platform to build on.

Barnsley will be further tested in the next week, as they face two tough looking away trips to the Midlands. It's Birmingham up first on Saturday, before a clash with Derby at Pride Park next midweek.
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With most people already condemning Barnsley to the drop after three games, the Tykes have responded well and the board must now stick by their new boss.

Keith Hill was a surprise appointment at Oakwell, following the departure of Mark Robins this summer, having spent his managerial career solely in the bottom two divisions.

But the 42-year-old impressed many during his time at Rochdale, getting the Lancashire club out of the bottom tier of English football for the first time in their history.

Some fans would have been forgiven for fearing the worst though at the start of Barnsley’s 2011-12 campaign, especially with some of the Tykes summer transfer dealings.

Having lost star man Adam Hammill in January, Barnsley brought in several players from the lower leagues as Hill gambled on their ability to play at a higher level. Those placing football bets may have been worried by this.

Striker Craig Davies was signed from Chesterfield, midfielder David Perkins from Colchester and defender Scott Wiseman from Rochdale were among the new recruits.

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Last night fans from around the country descended on Oakwell for it’s first Under 21 international in 10 years. A decade ago fans were treated to appearances by up-and-coming stars such as current England captain John Terry, National Team regular Gareth Barry, as well as current and former premiership regulars such as Nicky Weaver, Shola Ameobi, Ledley King, Luke Young, Jonathan Greening and Darius Vassell – all of whom now in their 30’s. Of course none of these household names were eligible to play last night, however it does beg the question as to whether we’ll be looking back in another 10 years and reminiscing upon the success of the likes of Ben Amos, Andre Wisdom and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal respectively.

The unique nature of networks such as Facebook and Twittter seem to provide partnerships that ordinarily would seem like rivalries. Therefore, this instance provides one example of that.

Recently, OnThePontyEnd was contacted by Dan Williams, the chief at the excellent Sunderland Blog, "The Roker Report". We were simply asked, "We have an interview piece you can have from [the legend that is] Higgy, do you want it?

We replied "What do you want from us"

They said "Now't" or words to that effect, we said YES PLEASE and here it is ...

You can follow Dan on Twitter @daninfrance

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Peckham-born striker, Danny Haynes, will remain at Barnsley for the duration of the 2011/12 league campaign, according to the club's coach, Keith Hill. The news comes just a few weeks after Barnsley's director, Don Rowing, said that the Yorkshire side would not entertain the 23-year-old's suitors. “He is a Barnsley player”, Rowing said.

Haynes' presence at the club will certainly influence the championship football betting. The speculation surrounding Haynes' future is something of an mystery, according to Hill. “I've not had one enquiry for Danny Haynes”, the former Rochdale player said. “I don't know where the rumours are coming from.” The manager's comments stand in stark contrast to recent reports in the media, which link Haynes with a move to Burnley, Leicester, Portsmouth, and Hull.

Haynes' apparent connection to Burnley is something of a tradition. The 'rumour mill' has already churned out a story linking the forward to the Lancastrians, this year. Hill claims that the falsehoods shadowing Haynes on a daily basis are “unnerving and upsetting” the youngster. “You can't help but see it, read it, feel it”, the Barnsley coach explained.

The footballer, who joined the Tykes earlier this year, in January, has notched up six goals in 24 appearances for Barnsley. His previous clubs include Bristol City, Ipswich, and Millwall, as part of a loan deal.

Haynes collected five caps for the England U19 squad in 2007, but he has failed to secure further employment in international competition, in recent years. He will be hoping to see Barnsley up a division and involved in the premier leauge football betting.

Haynes, who has two years left to run on his contract at Oakwell, has played in all of Barnsley's games, this season, including their Carling Cup match against Morecambe, a fortnight ago, and the Tykes fixture at the Madejski Stadium, where they claimed their first win of the season against Reading.

The season's just about warming up in OnThePontyEnd's Fantasy Football League and already there's some outstanding leaders and losers. (Ed: Although I would remind you it's a marathon not a sprint, well that's what the missus tells me!)

Congratulations this week to the new leader Kieran Bestall with Beata Vista
Enter Your Team in to OnThePontyEnd's Private League
  • First register at Texaco Fantasy Football 2011/12 and pick your squad.
  • Click "Private Leagues", scroll down to "Joining Private Leagues"
  • Enter Pin Number 1431 in to the box below and hit 'Find League'. If you are sure you have the right league, you must then click 'Join This League' to apply.
  • Once the League Chairman has accepted you in to the league, you will be able to view your table by clicking on the relevant Private League name on your team screen.
Regular updates will appear on this site throughout the season. Good luck!
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A dejected Keith Hill painted a very grim picture of Barnsley F.C. on Friday, noting that injuries and a spate of poor results had brought the club to their collective knees, “we are down to the bare bones”, the manager explained. It wouldn't have been unfair to say that Hill wasn't expecting to acquire many points from the club's upcoming fixtures.

It wasn't looking great on the championship betting odds. However, Hill's comments, which were published in the Star newspaper, and came just a few hours before Barnsley tackled Reading in the Championship, were perhaps a little too pessimistic. The Tykes squashed the home side 2-1 to record their first win of the 2011/12 season, thanks to the efforts of goalkeeper, Luke Steele.

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In an attempt to broaden our knowledge on the Hillcroft regime, OnThePontyEnd begged the superb and stunning blogger Sarah Lomas aka Girl on a Terrace to provide an exposé on their time at Rochdale AFC. Here it is.

You can follow Girl On A Terrace on Twitter @GirlOnATerrace or keep up to date on the latest event at Spotland here Girl On A Terrace

This week as seen a deluge of activity and debate on social network sites concerning Barnsley FC. And yes, there's a real mix of opinions out there. This week, OnThePontyEnd was messaged by one supporter, Andy White, with his views on the supposed troubles at Oakwell. We simply had to share this with readers. Follow Andy on Twitter @apwhite13.
Anyone who follows me on Twiiter, or either of the 2 most popular fans forum boards (The BBS and Tykesmad), will know that I called for the appointment of 'Hillcroft' this summer. I'll be honest, I had a wishlist of three. Wilson, Tisdale and Hillcroft. So of course, I was happy when on the 1st of June, Keith Hill and Dave Flitcroft were announced as our new management team.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 08:  Bobby Hassell o...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeIt's been at difficult week for players and fans of Barnsley FC. Perhaps for that reason alone, I was delighted to receive a guest article from fellow Reds fan, Alison Lambert. It is a pleasure to have read and to share with readers her philosophy on the supposed troubles at Oakwell. Barnsley Supporters can follow Alison on Twitter: @Just_Allie. Thanks Alison, there's tons of bottle in your message ...

We're already in the second week of OnThePontyEnd's Fantasy Football League and the competition is just beginning to warm up. Congratulations this week to the leader Lee Bradford with The Rotating Chinmen.
Enter Your Team in to OnThePontyEnd's Private League
  • First register at Texaco Fantasy Football 2011/12 and pick your squad.
  • Click "Private Leagues", scroll down to "Joining Private Leagues"
  • Enter Pin Number 1431 in to the box below and hit 'Find League'. If you are sure you have the right league, you must then click 'Join This League' to apply.
  • Once the League Chairman has accepted you in to the league, you will be able to view your table by clicking on the relevant Private League name on your team screen.
Regular updates will appear on this site throughout the season. Good luck!

We already know it. Perhaps you've already had countless conversations yourself with fellow fans and seen the comments on Twitter an so on. British journalists have written us out of the plot this season; but in particular, it's the manner in which it's happening that's so annoying.

Television for instance provides one example. Nottingham Forest v Barnsley; including the return to England of the former national coach, McClaren. Okay, so the result was 0-0 and perhaps, that doesn't make for entertaining TV. But their suggestion that Forest had simply had a bad day at the office, were short on resources, would improve and that Barnsley were nowhere near up to the challenge to turn them over, became "Barnsley frustrated new Nottingham Forest manager Steve McClaren to earn a deserved point in an uninspiring draw" as the lead paragraph.

Well ... what do you say when you feel you have nothing to say? Instead, OnThePontyEnd has hauled in the popular (but slightly disheveled) children's TV character "Bod" out of retirement, to preview the weekend ahead at Barnsley FC. Enjoy!

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This is the final part of our series of guest articles. On The Ponty End has been speaking to supporters of those teams who will be making an appearance in the Championship this year; either as a result of promotion or relegation, last season. We hope you gain just a small insight in to the expectations and inside track on the fresh opposition that Barnsley FC will face this season.

On this occasion, we're delighted to introduce our readers to Blackpool FC Fan John from the excellent blog Tangerine Dreaming

You can also follow the blog on Twitter: @Tanger_Dreaming

We've the reached the penultimate stage in our series of guest articles. On The Ponty End has been speaking to supporters of the clubs making an appearance in the Championship this year - either as a result of promotion or relegation last season.

Our aim is to provide you with just a small insight in to the expectations and inside track on the fresh opposition that Barnsley FC will face this season. On this occasion, we're delighted to introduce our readers to Brighton and Hove Albion fan Stefan Swift from The Seagull Love Review

You can also follow The Seagull Love Review on Twitter: @tslr

Continuing our series of guest articles, On The Ponty End has been speaking to supporters of the clubs making an appearance in the Championship this year - either as a result of promotion or relegation last season.

Our aim is to provide you with just a small insight in to the expectations and inside track on the fresh opposition that Barnsley FC will face this season. With that in mind, we hope we succeed.

We're delighted to introduce our readers to Southampton FC Fan Chris Rann from the excellent blog George Weah's Cousin

You can also follow Chris on Twitter: @crstig

Hartlepool United F.C.                    Image via Wikipedia
Barnsley boss Keith Hill has expressed his delight at his side's 3-0 victory at Victoria Park over Hartlepool United, as part of the Championship club's pre-season friendlies.

A goal from Reuben Noble-Lazarus and a brace from Danny Haynes were enough to give the Tykes a comfortable away victory against the League One outfit.

Barnsley struggled in the Championship last season, after they finished in 17th place in a table, despite showing that on their day they could beat any side, especially in front of an Oakwell crowd.

Signs for the upcoming campaign look far more promising and Hill was pleased with the run out and the performance his players showed at Victoria Park.

Guess The Score would like to offer all Barnsley fans, and especially the readers of On The Ponty End the opportunity to take part in its inaugural Prediction League.

They will be running separate competitions for both The Premiership and Championship for the 2011-12 season and we would love to see as wider cross section of football supporters taking part in the competitions as possible.

They will of course be encouraging club rivalries, but as Guess The Score has no allegiance to any one club they hope that this fact will not discourage all sports fans from joining the site.

There are no fees to join the Prediction League, and once a user registers with Guess The Score, they can take part in as many or as few competitions as they wish.

The website will also be providing a one stop shop for news from the top two tiers of English football, with headlines taken from a selection of respected outlets, which we hope will provide assistance when users of the site make their predictions.

Guess The Score will be looking to add further competitions to the website in the future, and we hope to cover further football competitions (including the UEFA Champions League, Europa Cup, Euro 2012 and World Cup 2014) as well as adding a section for motor-sports.

Further details of the competition and registration can be found at: http://county2county.co.uk

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OnThePontyEnd's Fantasy Football League is a Private League (open to new membership) and powered by Texaco Fantasy Football 2011/12. There are no formal prizes offered directly via OnThePontyEnd.com, this is operated just for fun.

Powered By Texaco Fantasy Football 2011/12

The game is FREE to play, and there's plenty up for grabs including, npower Championship Play-off Final tickets, VIP 'behind the scenes' experiences at your favourite npower Championship club, Texaco fuel vouchers, signed shirts, mini-footballs, and even the chance to meet your club's manager!

For full competition T&Cs, please see their Terms and Conditions page.

With the new season all but a month away and the Barnsley squad out in the Spanish Sun getting to know the new management team and subsequent summer acquisitions that accompanied them, now is probably not the time to pre-empt their fortunes for the coming campaign.

Most Reds fans have written their side off already, but I for one will reserve judgement until at least Christmas when the new recruits have had time to settle. I do feel rather optimistic about the 2011/12 season and think Keith Hill along with his assistant David Flitcroft, will help Barnsley reach the next level, something most fans are over-eager for the club to quickly achieve.

While we let the toil of pre-season training consume the Barnsley players, one thing that I feel passionate about (other than Tykes) is the state of Football when it comes to it’s petty rules and ridiculous legislation. As Mr. Blatter gorges his freeloading ego at the table of the evil Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe this week, maybe he would be better off looking at some simple changes to our beautiful game that I think would enhance it for the better. Changes to existing nonsenses such as….

According to the dedicated Wikipedia Page for Tommy Taylor,

"On 8 July 2011 a Blue Plaque will be unveiled at 22 Great Stone Road in Stretford. This was a boarding House in the 1950s and Manchester United used it as lodgings for their single players. Tommy lived there with David Pegg and (briefly) Mark Jones until these players were killed at Munich. The Blue Plaque is sponsored by Stretford High School (which is only 50 yards away) and came about as a result of a local history project undertaken by the students at the school. The plaque will be unveiled by Dickie Bird MBE, who was at school with Tommy Taylor in Barnsley".

It's a fitting honour for a legendary player who was cut down in his prime in the Munich air disaster, which took place on the 6th February 1958.

Continuing our series of guest articles, On The Ponty End has been speaking to supporters of the clubs making an appearance in the Championship this year - either as a result of promotion or relegation last season.

Our aim is to provide you with just a small insight in to the expectations and inside track on the fresh opposition that Barnsley FC will face this season. With that in mind, we hope we succeed.

We're delighted to introduce our readers to West Ham United fan Sam Hewitt (aka Rex Hammer) from the fairly recently established Hammers blog We Love You West Ham and supporters forum.

You can also follow Sam on Twitter: @Sam_Hewitt

Continuing our series of guest articles, On The Ponty End has been speaking to supporters of the clubs making an appearance in the Championship this year - either as a result of promotion or relegation last season.

Our aim is to provide you with just a small insight in to the expectations and inside track on the fresh opposition that Barnsley FC will face this season. With that in mind, we hope we succeed.

We're delighted to introduce our readers to Birmingham City fan Almajir from the excellent Blue's blog Often Partisan.

You can also follow Almajir on Twitter: @almajir or the blog @often_partisan

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It seems like Keith Hill is on a serious mission. He pledged to bring solidarity to the team that finished 17th last season. Who would have thought after losing Shackell, The Reds would bounce back with compelling ambitions? The juggernaut rolls on, as controversy laden ex-Manchester City striker/winger Kelvin Etuhu was given second-life to redeem himself by the manager, who had previous association with him during his spell at Rochdale, however, the deal has not been struck yet.

The deal has hit a snag due to medical concerns, though Hill insists it could still happen. Although he had a medical at Oakwell, Sky Sports understands that 'the move has stalled; Tykes are seeking medical advice over the results.'

So the new look Reds are back in pre-season training with Keith Hill quoted in the press as saying “It [our first day of training] was brilliant, the players were really receptive and it was very enjoyable,”.

I can't wait for the new season to kick-off, or even get a glimpse at the new charges in a friendly, when the all of us fans will get a taster of what might be to come under the new regime.

Will the Reds turn the recent tide this year?

The countdown to yet another season at Oakwell starts today with the players back in to meet and greet the new manager and his staff,  but my focus is on the Academy.

The foundation for clubs looking to save on expenditure starts at Academy level , but in order for us to go forward we have to go back.

A stand out player for me at the time was Jacob Butterfield, a good footballing background learning his trade at Manchester United before his arrival at Oakwell. Watching Jacob you could see he was very comfortable in control of the football not a great tackler but excellent passer of the ball left/right peg being aware of space always looking to link up play essential for any midfielder. As time progressed, it became apparent he would be destined for a 1st team place in 2010/2011, with some outstanding performances from the young Academy graduate.

Especially now with pre-season about to kick in to gear, On The Ponty End has been speaking to some of the clubs making an appearance in the Championship this year - either as a result of promotion or relegation last season.

Our aim is to provide you with just a small insight in to the expectations and inside track on the fresh opposition that Barnsley FC will face this season. With that in mind, we hope we succeed.

We're delighted to introduce our readers to Peterborough United fan Aaron Gratton who is presently studying journalism and is hoping to make it as a sport journalist. This coming season will be his fifth year as a season ticket holder at "The Posh" and is also a regular writer for the football site It’s Round and It’s White.

You can also follow Aaron on Twitter: @azygratton24

On The Ponty End introduces Matt Boothman, former writer for the Rochdale AFC website "There's Always Next Year" ... in this piece he offers a stark warning to supporters of Barnsley FC.

First of all, being asked to assess your ex-manager’s abilities by fans of the club he now manages is akin to being asked to assess your ex-girlfriend by the bloke she ran off with. No matter how fondly she may be remembered, the bitterness of her betrayal obviously affects all attempts at objectivity. We - defined as Hillcroft, gestalt football management entity, and the Rochdale fans whose views I now represent - did not depart on the greatest of terms. To put it simply; they ran off with the bloke with the Audi down the road. Barnsley fans, who will no doubt be impressed by Hillcroft’s successes in the seasons to come, will do well to remember their departure from Rochdale; and wonder whether or not their club can sustain the ambitions of that conjoined manager. But perhaps I am getting ahead of myself.

Managers will get sacked!

Okay, I admit it. It's a negative theme to cover before a ball has even been kicked. In fact, it probably divides opinion amongst football supporters of all clubs more than the merits of their club's transfer acquisitions.

Should he stay? Should he go? And, did we really get the right man to match our ambitions for the season ahead? Are probably questions being debated right around the country - even this early!

But let me set the record straight now. If I had a penny for every Barnsley fan who has asked me what I thought of the appointment of Hill and Flitcroft at Oakwell, let's say I would be a millionaire (well, have at least enough cash for a good old oiling at The Full House Pub).

One of the many advantages I have gained from writing for and editing an established blog is the opportunity it has opened up to connect with other sites. Overall, I've found a very generous community of individuals out there, regardless of which team they support, who have been happy to add to the content of this site and have hosted articles that I have also provided as a guest.

What started as an initial message, requesting if we could exchange links between our sites created an opportunity to introduce both a new writer and website to the readers of On The Ponty End.

This week, it is my pleasure to to be able to introduce Craig Wescott from the relatively new site "Jumpers For Goalposts"; a site that he describes as a blog built for football fans everywhere, who wish to express their views without fear of being ridiculed. So without further ado, here's Craig.

During a busy week of transfer activity at Oakwell, the spotlight most certainly fell on the departure of the Red's Player of the Season and Captain, Jason Shackell.

Whilst opinions may be mixed on the merits of the deal, I began speaking with @CSpaceram (on Twitter) from the Derby County Blog Ramspace about the movement occurring between our clubs and the confirmed loan agreement which has secured the services of Miles Addision for Barnsley FC until January 1st 2012.

Providing his insight, CSpaceram tells us what Barnsley fans can expect from the Derby County midfielder.

OnThePontyEnd.com has just been upgraded to allow readers to automatically view the site on a compatible mobile device (iPhone and Android) by default.

Readers can also access a demo version of the site from a PC or Mac.

What began as a brief delay became a period of being busy "doing other things" and eventually led to a spell of total apathy towards writing about our Reds. Simply the words wouldn't come, let alone spill over in to a blog post or two.

That said, I was at Oakwell throughout the games which led to the season's close; but even the shock departure of Mark Robins couldn't shake me from my inertia.

So what's changed?

Probably very little yet. Will the new man at the helm bring any improvement? It's probably very hard to speculate on that right now.

So, it's another new start. And yes, there may be a sense of excitement growing inside again.

The Reds will shortly be sporting their smart new Nike kits and we can begin to dream again. What if we can over-achieve against others expectations, just how far will we go?

Before then, I'll spruce up the site for another tilt at observing the season progress.

Maybe this time out we will get a decent cup run? We could even see a few "Premiership Dreamers" humbled ... And those are the days we flock to the 'well to see.

I'm going to park any feelings I have about 2010/11. That line has been well and truly drawn. Another new start feels better.

Marlon HarewoodImage via Wikipedia
Barnsley Football Club have announced that Blackpool FC Striker, Marlon Harewood has joined the Reds on an emergency loan until May 7th 2010. His availabilty for selection is still dependent upon the deal being properly ratified by the relevant authorities.

It's another impressive capture by manager Mark Robins, backed to the hilt by the club's owner and guardian Patrick Cryne. Does this demonstrate a determined attempt to make a top ten finish on the part of the management team or more?

Harewood's credentials are impressive. In a career that began at Nottingham Forest (with loan spells at Haka and Ipswich Town), he has also enjoyed extended spells at West Ham United and Aston Villa, punctuated by short periods on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Newcastle United.

This season in just 11 appearances, Harewood has clocked up 5 goals in the Premier League, which despite his 31 years is a fantastic goal ratio for a striker at that level. Having consistently played at Championship level and higher, this fella arrives with a pair of shooting boots and that is something that the Reds have been clearly lacking.

Another victory for the Reds too over the Blunts. Beleagured boss, Micky Adams has made no secret of his desire to swoop for Marlon Harewood in the press this week.

Perhaps Marlon, like the Oakwell faithful, know full well that Sheffield United are going down!

To finish off the week, we look ahead to this weekends clash at Oakwell between the Reds and the high flying Canaries, as Norwich City come to town.

Earlier today, I managed to contact "Girl in the City" to her readers, from the Norwich City Blog: Let's Be 'Avin You. AKA Rachel,  tackled the questions this week from OnThePontyEnd.com, as we find out a few things and more about the opposition.

You can also find Girl in the City on Twitter: @letsbeavinyou

Wilky: What were your pre-season expectations for Norwich City and how are you fairing compared to those?

Rachel: Well, my pre-season expectations for us were very much along the lines of ‘consolidate, avoid a relegation scrap, and a top-half finish would-be-rather-nice, thanks!’ I certainly didn’t think we would be challenging for promotion, so not only have we exceeded my personal expectations, but I think many others too. We have managed to build on last season’s achievements, and have maintained the momentum gained from promotion from League One, which has been pleasing.

We have a fantastic squad, which, although perhaps not the best on paper, have a real unity and determination to win. Our mentality of never-giving-in has impressed me most -I think we‘re now up to eight goals scored in stoppage time, and have won something like fourteen of our points in the last five minutes of matches - impressive even if I do say so!

Wilky: Statistically, Norwich City dominated Barnsley at Carrow Road earlier this season, despite the result only ending in a narrow 2-1 victory to the Canaries. Was that a typical display of your side on home turf this season?

Rachel: Yes, from what I remember of the game against you, we pretty much dominated the first-half but then you scored in first-half stoppage time! Thankfully we fought back to claim all three points, helped by the inspired introduction of Anthony McNamee. (Who as done little else since then, I’m afraid to say!)

I’m not sure I’d say it was typical. Our displays at home this season have some what differed, to be honest. There have been games we have largely dominated, but have found ourselves behind or pegged back. There have been games in which we have looked laboured, and struggled to impose ourselves in, most noticeably against teams who were struggling for form at the time. We haven’t always been as clinical with our chances as you’d expect, and that has been costly, but we have also benefited from a few very late goals, which have clinched us points at the death. So it’s certainly been an experience at Carrow Road the season, to say the least!

Wilky: In your opinion, what has been your best result this season and why?

Rachel: I would probably say the 4-1 thrashing of Ipswich back in November…but not just for obvious reasons!

There’s no denying it was good to reclaim ‘East Anglian’ bragging rights - at least until our next meeting - after all, we had waited 18 months for that! However, I really think it just added to the belief amongst the fans and players, and helped spur us on in the league. In fact we have lost just twice in the league since that result!

Wilky: If there were three things you could change instantly at Norwich City, what would they be?

Rachel: Mmm…interesting question! I’d like to wipe the club’s debt, that would be a good start! I’d also like to bring in a top quality striker to give Grant Holt a hand up-front and I’d like to add a hefty buy-out clause into Paul Lambert’s contract, so that at least if he did leave we’d get some money out of it!

Wilky: Your Blog, titled "Lets Be `Avin You" has paid homage to Delia's (now infamous) half-time rant, which no doubt caused some embarrassment back then. Can you describe any other situations or people that have heaped embarrassment on your club before or since?

Rachel: Oh bless her, I do love Delia! I know there were some people embarrassed at her rant, but for me it was just a fan trying to show her passion for the cause….whilst under the influence of a sherry or two! People seemed to forget that had it not been for her, our club probably wouldn’t be here now, and she does genuinely want what is best for the club and it’s supporters.

As for others…I can only think in terms of Chairman, Managers and one or two players that have perhaps caused us some embarrassment, but that really relates to the club in terms of the financial implications, and the relegations we have suffered. Times I'd rather not dwell on!

Wilky: What's your Clubs theme tune and which is your favourite one (current or past) and why?

Rachel: “On the Ball City….” is the theme tune, which by all accounts is described as the world’s oldest football song. (Not sure how they know that, mind you!)

Before every home game, led by a couple of chosen fans, we belt out a rendition of “On the Ball City….” It’s not the funniest, most ingenuitive, or up-to-date song, but I love it.

Wilky: What will the Norwich City fans be mostly likely singing from the North Stand this weekend?

Rachel: As mentioned above, we’ll start pre-kick off with a rendition of “On the Ball City…” then it depends on how the game goes. They’ll be a round or two of “There’s only one Paul Lambert” or “Paul Lambert’s green and yellow army…”; at one point, “City til I die…”; if Grant Holt scores, or throws himself into a crunching challenge which ruffles up one of your defenders, then they’ll be a chorus of “We f***ing love Grant Holt.” At some point they’ll be reference to Ipswich, in that we “always s**t on the old blue and white, doh do, doh do….” and if we win then I imagine they’ll be a verse or two of… “Ee ii ee ii ee ii oo it's up the Football League we go, when we win the title, this is what we’ll sing, we are Norwich, Super Norwich, Lambert is our King.”

No doubt they’ll be a bit of banter between the two of us as well, but you’ll have to wait and see how those songs might go!

Wilky: If Norwich City doesn't gain promotion this season, are you worried that Paul Lambert may leave Carrow Road and be the next "Young Manager" to make that leap to the Premier League?

Rachel: There is no doubt Paul Lambert will go on to manage at a higher level. He is proving himself to be a tremendous manager, and I can’t speak highly enough of him and his coaching team since their arrival at Carrow Road. He is a born winner.

I hope Lambert can realise his Premier league aspirations with us. If we don’t get promoted this season, then I would hope he’ll stay with us for at least one more season, and try at the second attempt, but I’m not naïve another to think that if a Premiership club came in for him, he wouldn’t leave. That’s football, but I just hope we can keep hold for him as long as possible!

Wilky: Ahead of our game, what's your score prediction?

Rachel: I can never bring myself to predict a defeat, and after the disappointment of our 1-1 draw at home to Doncaster on Tuesday night, I think the player’s will really be up for this one. Like you, I’m going for a 2-1 win; unlike you, I’m going to say in City’s favour!

Wilky: What would you say your squad's strengths are?

Rachel: As a group of players, they are determined, spirited, have tremendous willingness to persevere and just never know when to give in. The attitude and application is spot-on.

Wilky: Who is Norwich City's present star player and why do you see them in that way?

Rachel: Grant Holt is our talisman He leads the line so well, knows where the goal is, and works so hard for the side, but for me Wes Hoolahan is the key man in our team. No disrespect to the other players, but he is the one player who possesses the quality, the creativity and ingenuity to unlock a defence. He’s our little Irish genius!

Wilky: If you could have any one Barnsley player for your starting XI, who would it be?

Rachel: I’ve really like the look of Jacob Mellis, who is on loan to you from Chelsea. He looks like a real talent, and I’ve heard he’s doing well for you, so I’d probably go for him. I certainly can’t go for Danny Haynes, despite the fact I know he’s also a key player for you!!

Wilky: What is your opinion about Barnsley FC as a club, and as a team?

Rachel: Barnsley FC - a well-respected club, with good history, but that has had to endure many ups and downs, particularly over the past couple of decades.

However, at present there appears to be a stability about the club. You’re getting the best out of the resources you have available to you and have a good manager at the helm. Robins appears to have put together a well-equipped, organised team, and I’m in no doubt tomorrow’s game will be a difficult game for us.

Thanks to Rachel for joining us. If Holt is likely to be the troublesome talisman for the opposition, we can look forward to the Ponty End vocally supporting the former deedar!

Read the reciprocal interview by Wilky on Let's Be 'Avin You here: The Opposition's View: Barnsley
Football is a simple game, complicated by idiots, Bill Shankly once said, and a greater truth has never been uttered about the working class' opera. Pundits, commentators, analysts and supporters alike pull apart every aspect of the game until it becomes unrecognisable from its original state – but it is an instrument as important as a referee’s whistle when it comes to understanding why a team are where they are in the league.

Barnsley, as ever, continue to excite and frustrate in equal proportions, this time as Keiran Trippier’s late goal secured a point for the Tykes. Football bets at the ready as to what might happen against promotion chaser’s Norwich.

A draw is always the trickiest scoreline to interpret. It leaves things open to interpretation. One man’s sitting back with eight men behind the ball with not an inkling of attacking intent is another’s spirit and determination, and one man’s two points dropped is another’s one gained.

Another factor that muddies the water is context. On the face of it a 3-3 draw with promotion chasing Leeds is an excellent result, but what might have been?