Sky Sports EFL pundit David Prutton has suggested that Barnsley will edge out Huddersfield Town and also that it is going to be a huge game in the context of both team’s respective ambitions.
Huddersfield managed to secure a hugely important 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest on Saturday to bring to an end a run of five games without a win in the Championship. That saw Carlos Corberan’s side move themselves eight points clear of Rotherham United with only four games remaining. Although, the Millers still do have two games in hand on them.
The Terriers are now looking in a much better position to survive the drop than they were a week ago, but they still do need to find one or two more results from somewhere to be assured of their survival. This game is more of a free hit considering they are up against one of the sides inside the top-six, so pressure can be somewhat off them and that might be a benefit to them.
Barnsley, meanwhile, have to show a positive response to their defeat against Coventry City on Sunday. That loss saw them fail to take a chance to move seven points clear of Reading and all but assure their place in the top-six. The Tykes can ill-afford another similar result here because that would let Reading potentially close in to within a point of them.
The Tykes need to get their form back on track and try and pick up another couple of wins as soon as possible to cement themselves in the top-six. They also need to keep winning to ensure that they maintain their momentum heading into the play-offs should they make them. This is therefore a huge game for them and a real chance to keep Reading at arm’s length.
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Making his latest round of predictions for Sky Sports, Prutton suggested that Huddersfield’s win at Forest has put them in a much stronger position to survive now. While he also believes that Barnsley have to get back to winning ways after being handed a real warning by Coventry. He predicts a 2-1 win for the Tykes.
He wrote: “Without stating the obvious, had they not collected that 2-0 win over Forest at the weekend, Huddersfield would be right in the middle of the relegation mire. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t out of trouble yet, but there’s now a healthy gap between the Terriers and the bottom three, which will provide a timely confidence boost.
“Defeat to Coventry on Sunday will give Barnsley a reminder that a play-off spot is not yet secure. Closest rivals Reading haven’t been in the best form for more than a month now but only trail them by four points so a win in the Yorkshire derby here would be massive.”
Prutton is right that Barnsley are under pressure here to try and get back to winning ways and prevent themselves from losing further ground to Reading in the top-six hunt. The Tykes have been looking like they are firm faviourites for the play-offs for a good few weeks now and that pressure might be starting to have an impact upon them.
Huddersfield, meanwhile, look like they are almost there in terms of wrapping up their safety in the Championship. Another win here and you would suggest it could well be job done. However, they cannot afford to relax which is something that Corberan was keen to stress in his pre-match press conference ahead of the fixture.
This is one of those massive games that have real implications at both ends of the pitch that you get in the Championship at this stage. The winners will be in a much better position to achieve their respective end-of-season goals with a win here. I would tend to just side with Prutton and go with a tight win for Barnsley as well.