The Opposition View: Barnsley
Craig Smith answers the questions I put to him ahead of Saturday's televised match.
Are you happy with how the season has progressed so far for Barnsley?
Happy? No. Not disappointed either, though. The team has gone through a massive transition in the summer. We outplayed both Leicester and Watford at home then Birmingham away and only managed to get a point from each game. We were the better team at Derby for the first half and then were destroyed in the second half but came away with a hard fought point, so I suppose it has a flipside.
One thing is certain though, 40+ draws won't guarantee NPC football next season, and we're becoming draw specialists. That's not progress in my own opinion, it's stalemate. We completely played Coventry off the pitch in our last match and had we a natural finisher in the side it would have been a slaughter. Are you pleased with the job Keith Hill is doing at Oakwell?
Hill has the team playing attractive passing football, and it's a joy to behold for the most part. He makes the most of the resources available to him and things are looking good down at Oakwell. It is still a work in progress though, slow progress albeit.
I'm very happy with Hill, he's by far a superior manager to (Mark) Robins. We have the second best defensive record in the league and our midfield has dominated the last few games. We're lacking in the goals department though, but I'm sure it'll all come good in time. What are the biggest strengths of this current Barnsley side?
The defence and midfield, especially Luke Steele in goal. He's started the season on fire. Our passing game it unbelievable, for as long as I've watched them I can't remember them passing the ball so well and holding possession for so long. The team's patience is their biggest strength. What are the major weaknesses in your team?
Goals? I just can't see where they're gonna come from, having said that Craig Davies has been injured since pretty much day one. So once he returns maybe that'll change.
Also, holding onto lead. Some things never change and our inability to hold an advantage is everpresent. If we take the lead in the 19th minute you could bet your house we'll be level in the 22nd minute and win 9 times out of 10. Pompey are currently on a poor run of form (and may not have a manager come Saturday) so are you confident that the Tykes can come to Fratton Park and win or would you take a draw if offered?
I'd certainly not sniff at a point away from home. I am very confident though, if the team brings it's A game then Pompey are in for some major problems. Predict the outcome of the match.
We're undefeated away from home and coming off the back of a dominating home performance. Condfidence will be high and it looks likely Davies will return.
Pompey 1-3 Barnsley
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