Barnsley host Swansea City this evening in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final.
Valerien Ismael’s side are looking to continue defying the odds by turning Swansea over and reaching Wembley, whilst Steve Cooper is looking to guide the Swans through a successful play-off campaign after last year’s failure.
Football League World will be live from Oakwell this evening to provide updates, but in the meantime, check out our preview piece:
This is Barnsley’s first appearance in the play-offs at this level since 1999/2000, when they were beaten by Ipswich Town in the final.
Beyond that, it’s only ever been the League One play-offs for the Tykes, but they’ve got a good success rate.
In 2005/06 and 2015/16, Barnsley won promotion, with the former campaign seeing them beat Swansea in the play-off final on penalties.
That was one of Swansea’s play-off campaigns that ended in disappointment, just like last season when they were beaten by Brentford at the semi-final stage.
Swansea’s most recent win at this level came in 2010/11 under Brendan Rodgers.
Ismael has been boosted by the fact he can welcome back Dominik Frieser against Swansea, with the forward in contention for the first time since injuring his hamstring against Huddersfield Town last month.
Brad Collins is set for his 50th appearance for the Tykes.
In terms of Swansea, Ben Cabango has returned to training this week after a groin injury and is likely to be in contention to play.
Brandon Cooper, though, is unavailable, serving up Cooper his only absentee.
Last time out
Swansea are the only side in the Championship to complete a league double over Barnsley this season, beating them 2-0 twice.
As mentioned, though, Barnsley did get the better of the Swans in the League One play-off final in 2005/06.
One to watch
Both sides have got their fair share of talent that will be on show tonight.
However, as our graphic below explains, Football League World’s Alfie Burns feels that Daryl Dike could well be the difference over the two legs.
The powerful striker has nine goals in just 19 appearances since arriving at Oakwell on loan and feels like the man for the big occasion.
Where to watch
Barnsley’s clash with Swansea will be live on Sky Sports, with a kick-off time of 8:15pm.
As per Sky Bet’s current odds:
Barnsley win: 23/20
Swansea win: 11/4
A real nice subplot here is the midfield battle between Alex Mowatt and Conor Hourihane.
Hourihane left Barnsley back in the winter of 2017, moving on to Aston Villa, where he won promotion back in 2019. A lack of opportunities in the Premier League mean he’s now with Swansea on loan, looking for a second promotion out of the play-offs in three seasons.
Tonight, though, he’s up against a tough opponent in Mowatt.
Mowatt was the man that replaced Hourihane in 2017, arriving from Yorkshire rivals, Leeds United.
After a tough period of adaptation, Mowatt is now the Barnsley skipper and excelling in the Championship, looking to lead the Tykes to another promotion after playing a key part in getting them out of League One in 2018/19.
Here’s how the midfield rivals match up this season: