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The oppositions opinion: Peterborough United v Barnsley

1 December 2011 by

The last time these two teams met Posh were finally resigned to relegation from the Championship after a long and unsuccessful return to the second division of the football ladder.

This time around things are more positive for the boys in blue. Despite losing 3-2 to Reading in midweek Posh still sit securely in the middle to the table with 24 points.

Barnsley also have 24 points and will have added confidence going into the game after beating fellow Yorkshire rivals Leeds 2-1 last weekend.

I caught up with Barnsley fan ‘Wilky’ who blogs at OnThePontyEnd.com to find out his thoughts on the game ahead:

What to do you make of your teams start to the season?

Overall, I’ve been impressed. There was some concern in the close season about how we would fare this time out, with the shock departure of Mark Robins and countless speculative stories about the reduction in the playing budget. Especially for a Championship level club.

Nobody expects a promotion push, but equally – we too often receive relegation elect status before a ball is even kicked each season. Its nice to be proving the doubters wrong.

What impact has Keith Hill made at the club?

It’s still very early, but what is evident in the clear partnership that Hill & Flitcroft (Hillcroft) have engineered is a mentality throughout the squad to work hard, honestly and to entertain. He is fiercely protective of his squad, sometimes to the detriment of upsetting supporters after poor performances. But he’s well respected by players and fans alike and all can see his blueprint for stability and success is already paying huge dividends.

Peterborough are a free scoring team but have one of the leakiest defences in the division. How do you think your team will fair against them?

I expect Barnsley to be compact and give Peterborough very little time on the ball, reducing their possession measurably. It’s the old saying, “they can’t score, if they don’t have the ball”. Our best results against the likes of Hull and Leeds have been delivered through this philosophy.

You recently beat local rivals Leeds will this give you some added confidence going into the game?

I’m sure the lads will have celebrated this result more than others and the local bragging rights are valuable. But, we haven’t lost to Leeds United since 2001 either, so we are getting used to giving Leeds a challenging game. Last season we won 5-2 at home and gained a 3-3 draw at Eland Road.

The team are playing with togetherness and confidence at the moment. The Peterborough game will be viewed with equal importance in our effort to climb higher in the league and break in to that top 10.

Who will be your key man?

Luke Steele, the former Peterborough keeper has matured in to arguably the best keeper in the Championship in his time with us. With penalty saves and genuine world class abilities, he’s saved our skins regularly this season.

What player has surprised you the most this season?

Perhaps the only player that qualifies in this respect is Jacob Butterfield, a product of the Barnsley FC academy. Everyone knew that Butters had the ability to make it, but his progress was hampered by limited appearances on a consistent basis under former managers.

He has not only established himself in the first eleven this season, but also became the youngest ever Barnsley captain and has handled that responsibility superbly. Like I say, we knew he would come through, the only problem now is keeping him. The January transfer window will be a huge test of our resolve and most fans expect him to leave for the Prem.

Finally what’s your score prediction?

I’m going to go for Peterborough 1 – 2 Barnsley. With McCann (a former Red) on the scoresheet for the Posh, because that always happens against your former players. Plus Nile Ranger (on loan from Newcastle United) and Craig Davies on the scoresheet for Barnsley.

Follow Wilky on twitter at @OnThePontyEnd

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