Both Barnsley and Nottingham Forest are struggling at the wrong end of the Championship table ahead of Wednesday night's televised meeting. Mark O'Haire previews the encounter.
"Goals could be at a premium in Yorkshire with Barnsley and Nottingham Forest combining to see a chunky 12 (67%) of 18 Championship contests featuring Under 2.5 Goals"
Barnsley v Nottingham Forest
Live on Sky Sports Arena
Barnsley have bagged a solitary success under Markus Schopp and remain just three points above the bottom-three after falling to a 1-0 defeat at Blackpool on Saturday. The Tykes started slowly at Bloomfield Road and were deservedly behind on the half-hour mark, and required Brad Collins' intervention to keep the score down ahead of half-time.
Victor Adeboyejo saw an effort well saved before the break and defender Michal Helik was narrowly wide with a header from Cauley Woodrow's cross in the closing minutes but in truth there was little to choose between the teams after the break with the Reds unable to conjure up an equaliser. The visitors are now winless in seven Championship games.
Schopp, who made five changes for the game, was understandably frustrated post-match, saying: "There was not a big difference between the teams but a couple of guys didn't do their basic work. It really hurts to lose a game like today. The lads have to understand that first of all in the Championship the most important thing is to compete and to be ready."
Cooper begins Forest reign with a point
Max Lowe's freak equaliser gave Steve Cooper a point against draw specialists Millwall in his first match as Nottingham Forest boss on Saturday. The Tricky Trees made a bright start under their new head coach, Lewis Grabban forcing an early save before the visitors went ahead and finished the first 45 minutes the strongest at the City Ground.
However, Forest were level soon after the break and the leveller owed a lot to luck. The Reds looked to take advantage of their good fortune thereafter, with Lyle Taylor and Joe Worrall both seeing efforts from inside the goalmouth blocked. But despite their pressure the hosts were unable to carve out a clear-cut chance against a stubborn Millwall defence.
Cooper named the same side which earned Forest's first win of the season under caretaker boss Steven Reid and was pleased with the application of his squad, saying: "I know we have things to work on, but in the five days that I've been here all I've seen is a set of players who care and want to do well." Grabban is considered doubtful for Wednesday with concussion.
Barnsley have enjoyed recent meetings with Forest at Oakwell, bagging four wins from the last five head-to-head here in the Championship (W4-D0-L1). Three of the most recent four saw the Tykes silence the Tricky Trees here, and Barnsley have actually kept clean sheets in their past four fixtures with Forest across all venues and competitions.
Having upset the odds to seal a top-six finish under Valerien Ismael last season, Barnsley 2.588/5 have struggled to reach the same heights in 2021/22. The Tykes have won the Expected Goals (xG) battle just once in their nine outings, and managed to score multiple goals just once (W1-D5-L3). The hosts' also rank rock-bottom for xG ratio.
Nottingham Forest 3.4012/5 have collected four points since Chris Hughton's departure, and know victory at Oakwell will move them out of the bottom-three. The visitors have toiled in the final-third this term and are yet to produce an xG figure above 1.00, whilst matches involving Forest have featured the lowest overall xG average at just 1.77 per-game.
Goals could be at a premium with Barnsley and Nottingham Forest combining to see a chunky 12 (67%) of 18 Championship contests featuring Under 2.5 Goals 1.608/13 this term. As well as Forest's fixtures producing the lowest overall xG figure, Barnsley's battles are averaging the second-lowest actual goals per-game output at just 1.78.
The case for a low-scoring showdown remains strong so heading to the Bet Builder makes sense as we can package Under 3.5 Goals together with Nottingham Forest Double Chance for an appealing 1.758/11 play. It's paid out in seven of Barnsley's nine outings this season, with Forest likely to improve now under Cooper's watch.
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