Barnsley will be targeting a third consecutive Championship victory when they face pre-season promotion favourites Brentford at Oakwell on Tuesday night.
Valerien Ismael has enjoyed a magnificent start to life in the South Yorkshire dugout, recording four victories from his five matches in charge – dispatching the likes of Watford, Derby and Nottingham Forest in the process.
When the Frenchman replaced Gerhard Struber at the end of October, only goal-difference was keeping Barnsley above the bottom-three, but 12 points in less than one month has seen the Tykes climb to 13th in the Championship table, moving eight points clear of danger.
It means that Ismael’s side should be full of confidence heading into tonight’s game, especially with the added incentive of knowing they can leapfrog Brentford with a third straight Oakwell success.
And whilst the Bees head to Yorkshire on a five-match unbeaten run, four of those have been draws, and a second stalemate on the bounce at Wycombe on Saturday means that Thomas Frank’s side are approaching the four hour mark without finding the net.
Despite their struggles, Brentford are just six points adrift of the automatic promotion places, although they can’t afford many more slip ups if they have genuine top-two ambitions once more.
But what does Sky Sports’ David Prutton think will be the outcome? He’s gone for a surprise home victory for Barnsley.
He told Sky Sports: “Barnsley fans might have been unsure what to expect when Valerien Ismael walked through the door at Oakwell last month but they certainly know now. Since his first game, against QPR, on October 27, the Frenchman has guided the Tykes to four wins from five games, keeping four clean sheets along the way.
With the likes of Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo in their ranks, Brentford undoubtedly have the quality to go and win at Oakwell.
But their recent form doesn’t suggest that’ll happen, and I think they’ll come unstuck and endure their four consecutive Championship draw this evening.