Managerless side Barnsley suffered a huge setback in their bid for survival on Saturday afternoon, as they fell to a 2-0 defeat on their own patch against fellow relegation strugglers Hull City.
Goals either side of the interval from George Honeyman and Keane Lewis-Potter consigned them to a gut-wrenching defeat after seemingly getting back on track with a 2-1 win against Derby County on Wednesday night.
However, they failed to provide the attacking threat needed to come out victorious and with this latest defeat, they now sit four points adrift of safety with the Tigers leapfrogging them after Saturday’s result.
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This is a real blow going into the international break, leaving their future boss with a mountain to climb in their current situation and another struggling side in Cardiff City potentially set to get a new manager bounce if they make their own appointment during the interval.
It could be argued this break comes at the right time for them after such a damaging defeat – but they will need to get to work this week to have any chance of getting out of the drop zone in the short term.
Looking back at the weekend’s game, we have selected three things we learnt about them after their clash with Grant McCann’s men.
Callum Brittain will continue to be an attacking threat
Starting off with something a bit more positive, Brittain looked extremely bright at times and he had a decent chance in the second half to equalise, but failed to get enough on his shot to test Nathan Baxter in the Hull goal.
Appearing on the edge of the box, he has managed to get himself in this position multiple times this term as an attacking wing-back, hitting the post against Reading in the middle of last month from a similar place.
He might not be scoring from this position at the moment, but if given enough opportunities, he will start to find the net and his positioning should be utilised fully by Markus Schopp’s successor at Oakwell.
This makes the 23-year-old one person to keep an eye on – and he also deserves a shout out for his composure in the second 45 when Brad Collins was way out of his goal and he still had the courage to go past a player.
They need to defend better on the counter-attack
Hull had two brilliant chances on the counter-attack to extend their scoreline – and on both occasions – Barnsley’s defending simply had to be better.
With three at the back, they have no excuses and will be punished further by teams if they continue to leave gaps.
In fairness, their worst bit of defending wasn’t during these two situations, because the amount of time Lewis-Potter had to shoot for the Tigers’ second goal was criminal.
But still, it’s something they need to work on if they want to continue taking the game to the opposition as they look to get on the front foot and drag themselves away from relegation danger.
They still need an Alex Mowatt replacement
In a game where the Tykes failed to create that many clear-cut chances, the reason for their downfall in a game that could have gone either way, it was clear they were lacking the attacking inspiration from a player like Mowatt to step up to the plate and create something out of nothing.
Scoring eight goals and recording seven assists from midfield last term, he played a major part for the South Yorkshire outfit going forward during their rise up the table and you almost feel their 2-1 win in midweek against Derby gave them a false sense of security.
They have only scored 12 times in 17 league games this term, the main reason for their current position and many people would place blame on the likes of Cauley Woodrow and Aaron Leya Iseka for not scoring more.
However, they need more attacking contributors from across the pitch and they could previously rely on Mowatt to place his part. Now they no longer have him, his absence is being felt, to the gain of his current side West Brom who have seen him score three goals already in 12 league games.
With this, he has equalled Woodrow’s Championship total for the season, with the Barnsley striker playing five more games than his former skipper in 2021/22.