The Jack Army will converge on the Millennium stadium this Saturday in force, with more than 32,000 supporters making this the largest Jack Army away day in recent years.
Swansea progressed through a tough test against 3rd place Brentford and was outstanding in the second leg at Griffin Park. Leon Knight has truly fired the swans into the Playoff final and with all areas of the field remaining solid this will certainly give Swansea City the confidence to seal a championship place for the 06/07 season.
There is just one hurdle standing in the way for a dream ticket to the 2nd tier of the football league. The Tykes are all that stand in the way of progression. They sealed their place in the final with an aggregate 3-2 win against Huddersfield , they will certainly go into the game with confidence themselves.
Barnsley on table points are ahead of the Swans, but with the Swans scoring 7 goals in their last 3 games alone, Swansea can certainly stretch the Tykes defense. Nardiello and Co have an attacking potency also however Swansea have taken 4 points off the Tykes this season, the Swans have the stronger side and it will take a lot to break us down.
Who will win? Well come 5.30 on Saturday we will know whether next season away days will be at Carlisle United or West Bromwich Albion.
Swansea City Vital Quotes:
”The fact we’ve done it once will help in terms of getting things right in the build-up”
Swansea Manager Kenny Jackett
”Barnsley are a good, strong side, but I think we’ve got too many players who can turn on the style on the big day.”
Swansea Striker Lee Trundle
‘We have to give them a platform because if we don’t, we won’t give ourselves a chance of winning the game.”
Swansea Defender Garry Monk on providing, the Swans Attackers a platform.
Barnsley Vital Quotes:
‘We will not be going there for a day out and we want to make sure that we win the game. We want promotion and we will put everything we have into the game’.
‘It’s hard to say how it will go. We have had two good games against them this season. It’s a one-off game and it really could go both ways. Leon Knight is hot and Lee Trundle is always there as a threat. They have some very good players. I also like Andy Robinson in midfield. They are a strong side all round and we know it will be a very difficult game.’
Andy Ritchie, Barnsley Manager.
Swansea Team News:
Kenny Jackett has received a welcome boost ahead of the play off final, with Kevin McLeod fit to play. It was feared that his broken ankle sustained at the Liberty Stadium against Southend, would rule him out of the rest of the season. McLeod has been undertaking some high oxygen therapy to treat the injury. His recovery has been rapid and looks set to play some part in the final.
Iriekpen, Watt and Way remain sidelined with long-term injuries.
Kenny Jackett has no fresh injury worries ahead of the final and looks set to name an unchanged side from the side that won 2-0 at Griffin Park against Brentford.
Player to watch: Leon Knight
With 5 goals in the last 3 games Leon Knight is in fine form. The Diminutive striker signed from Brighton and Hove Albion for Â£125,000 in the January transfer window, and poses a real goal threat. He has pace, awareness and his sharpness will trouble the Barnsley defense.
Barnsley Team News:
Barnsley look to name an unchanged side from the side that won against Huddersfield.
With Nardiello spurring the attack with the pacy Hayes. Martin Devaney looks set to lead the midfield charge against the Swans.
Player to watch: Daniel Nardiello
David Nardiello, the son of former Coventry Midfielder Donato, will pose a threat to the Swansea goal. The Former Swansea City player has had a good season with the Tykes, scoring 6 goals in the league this season. However with 10 yellow cards and 1 red card this season his discipline could be a problem, he has pace and this will trouble the Swansea defense.
Nardiello signed for the Tykes on a season long deal in 2004 and has remained at the club.
Match Facts & Stats
THIS SEASON’S LEAGUE MEETINGS:
Swansea City 3-1 Barnsley
29 August 2005 – Ref: Steve Tanner
Swansea scorers: McLeod 14, Trundle 58, McLeod 90
Barnsley scorer: Burns 35
Barnsley 2-2 Swansea City
4 March 2006 – Ref: Jonathan Moss
Barnsley scorers: Nardiello 56, Richards 61 pen
Swansea scorers: Robinson 48, Trundle 64
Sent Off: O’Leary (Swansea) 59
HEAD TO HEAD TOTALS
All competitions: Swansea 30, Barnsley 23, Draws 10
HEAD TO HEAD in League
League: Swansea 28, Barnsley 22, Draws 10
This will be a very tough fixture indeed; the Swans have all the necessary requirements to win this game. The performance against Brentford at Griffin Park was excellent; Barnsley will go into the game with confidence overhauling league position against Huddersfield. The Tykes Defense Looked shaky against Huddersfield and the Swans must take full advantage of that if they are to secure a place in the championship next season.
The Swans Defense has been stronger in the last 3 games only conceding 1 goal on the rest of the seasonâ??s form that is excellent. The swans must combat the threat of Nardiello, Hayes and Devaney if they do then the swans should out match the Tykes in every area. Both Sides have the resources to win this game however the swans out match the Tykes in their attacking options , Swanseaâ??s defense is stronger in the run up to the game.
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Match Preview by Lisa Higgins (sbrjack)