A setback at home to Oxford United last week leaves us in a position of needing a positive result in our toughest remaining away game – based on current league positions. The pace and energy of this side that has propelled us into contention for the top six were not enough to breakthrough a resolute Oxford side, however, those qualities are likely to be exactly what could make the difference in this upcoming trip to 2nd-place Barnsley.
While there are arguments to be made around resting the likes of Luke Thomas, Tom Bayliss and Dujon Sterling, who were off the boil against Oxford United last week, the is a lack of alternative options – especially of players who can make a real difference – is likely to dictate the trio’s continued inclusions.
Of the three, Dujon Sterling – who played from the bench for England under-20s during the week – has the most natural replacement available in Jack Grimmer. However, throwing Grimmer in for such a difficult game having played such little football this season and his eyes surely on a summer move away from the club is hardly ideal. In the cases of Tom Bayliss and Luke Thomas, the most natural replacements look to respectively be David Meyler and Jordan Shipley, both of whom would massively affect the dynamic of the side and slow our play down.
Unless there are any injuries that haven’t been made public in the build-up to this game, expect Mark Robins to name the same side as in recent weeks – which is likely to be the case between now and the end of the season. While burn-out is a concern, we have to hope the different context of this game freshens things up.