Michael O’Neill will be pleased with how his Stoke side have started the season, as their six games have resulted in four wins, and their only league defeat came in an away trip to Fulham.
The Potters are into their fourth Championship season since relegation from the Premier League in 2018, and the squad looks well equipped to mount a promotion charge this campaign.
Stoke mounted a comeback in their last outing after going behind against Huddersfield, but a Jacob Brown goal and an own goal from Matty Pearson was enough to ensure the Potters made it 13 points from their opening six fixtures.
The hosts will be aiming to win four consecutive home league games, something they have not achieved since April 2014, and they will be confident against Barnsley – a team they have only lost once to in their last eight home fixtures.
Furthermore, Stoke have scored six goals across their three home league games, so will be confident they can find the net once again against Barnsley, especially as they have scored six goals in their last two home games against the Tykes.
Meanwhile, Barnsley’s start to the season has failed to match last season’s form that saw the Tykes finish fifth, which secured a playoff place, and so far this season relegation seems the prime concern rather than promotion.
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Last season’s head coach Valerien Ismael left in the summer to take over the helm at West Brom, and new Barnsley boss Markus Schopp has found it tough going to replicate his predecessor with his side only winning one league game so far this term.
Disappointingly, the side from Oakwell suffered their heaviest defeat of the season at the weekend as Scott Parker’s Bournemouth side demolished the Tykes 3-0 at the Vitality Stadium.
Another worrying aspect of Barnsley’s season so far is that they have failed to collect a league win on the road, but on a brighter note their three league away games did result in two draws