EFL pundit Dean Ashton has suggested that he believes Swansea City will have the edge over Barnsley in their play-off semi-final and that Steve Cooper’s side will come out on top.
The Swans managed to secure a fourth-place finish in the Championship and ended the regular campaign two points clear of Barnsley in fifth.
That means that Cooper’s side have the potential advantage of playing the second leg of the tie at the Liberty Stadium, they will be hoping that works out and gives them a slight edge.
Cooper’s side suffered a defeat in the semi-finals last season after playing the first leg at home, and in the end, Brentford edged past them after coming back from a 1-0 deficit and winning the second leg 3-1.
Barnsley, meanwhile, are the team that are the outsiders for the play-offs, but they have proven the doubters wrong all the way through the campaign.
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Speaking to EFL on Quest, Ashton suggested that he thinks that Cooper’s ability to organise them into a solid unit and their experience from last season’s play-offs could make the difference against Barnsley.
He said: “I’ve got quite a strong feeling (Swansea will beat Barnsley), they’ve got two fantastic full-backs, I think when it comes to a big game the manager will be able to set them up, they’ll be difficult to beat.
“They can on their day the front players produce, I’ve just got this feeling with the experience they had last season as well. I really do fancy Swansea.”
You can see where Ashton is coming from here, with Swansea the most solid team in the Championship this season and that is why their goalkeeper Freddie Woodman picked up the Golden Glove for keeping the most amount of clean sheets. While they also got the better of them twice this campaign in the regular season winning both games 2-0.
That does suggest that Swansea could be in the driving seat for the play-off semi-final and they also have that added experience of their tie with Brentford last term. However, having said that, Barnsley are a side that have been defying the odds all season long and they could well be set to do so yet again here.
Barnsley have the confidence to take on any opponent in their way and they also have the least amount of pressure on them of any of the sides in the play-offs. That could well be used as their advantage and if they can secure a win at Oakwell in the first leg then there is no reason why they can not defy Ashton’s prediction and make it to Wembley.