MX23RW : Thursday, April 22 02:38:45| >> :120:16166:16166:
Apr 2, 2021 at 5.30pm UK at Oakwell Stadium
Mowatt (61' pen.)
Woodrow (18'), Palmer (25'), Halme (68')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Ejaria (34')

Preview: Barnsley vs. Reading - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Championship clash between Barnsley and Reading, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Barnsley and Reading face off at Oakwell on Friday evening in a huge clash that could go a long way to determining which side finishes in a playoff spot.

The hosts are two points better off than their opponents, who are directly below them in the table, but any sort of slip up here will give the chasing pack a chance to close in.

Match preview

Sheffield Wednesday's Jordan Rhodes scores their first goal  against Barnsley on March 20, 2021© Reuters

After a run of nine wins from 10 Championship matches, the other game in that sequence finishing in a draw, Barnsley's superb form was ended by Sheffield Wednesday before the international break.

Jordan Rhodes scored twice to inflict a first league defeat on the Tykes since January 19, during which time they have climbed the division into their current position of fifth.

The target for Valerien Ismael's men will be to keep hold of a playoff spot with eight games to go, but they still have to face Norwich City, Middlesbrough and indeed Reading.

This really is a massive game for both sides given the tight proximity between them in the table, plus the fact that Bournemouth, Cardiff City and Boro are all within touching distance.

While Barnsley's form over the past couple of months has been nothing short of exceptional, even accounting for the home loss to lowly Wednesday, Reading's has been rather more inconsistent.

Reading's Yakou Meite celebrates scoring their first goal on March 20, 2021© Reuters

The Royals have won four, drawn three and lost five of their last 12 league matches, allowing the sides behind them to close the gap.

The points were shared with Queens Park Rangers in Reading's most recent outing after Yakou Meite struck to cancel out Lyndon Dykes's opener.

That underwhelming result made it three games without a win for Veljko Paunovic's charges, and now the pressure is really on to get back to winning ways if they are to stay in the top six.

Reading won September's reverse fixture 2-0 at the Madejski Stadium and are seeking a league double against Barnsley for the first time since 2010-11, the season in which they reached the playoff final.

In fact, the Tykes are winless in seven league matches against Reading, drawing three and losing four of those since a 3-1 away win in March 2014.

Barnsley Championship form:
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • L

Reading Championship form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D

Team News

Barnsley's Cauley Woodrow celebrates scoring against Wycombe Wanderers in the Championship on March 17, 2021© Reuters

Reading are without Tom McIntyre and Felipe Araruna for this match, while Paunovic has also confirmed that John Swift is still not ready for a return to action.

Michael Morrison and Andy Yiadom both have a chance of featuring at Oakwell, however, as the Royals' injury list slowly clears up.

George Puscas was heavily involved for Romania during the international break, so Lucas Joao - who has 18 goals in 32 league appearances this term - seems certain to lead the line.

As for Barnsley, Liam Kitching and Ben Williams have both been nursing injuries, but Ismael should otherwise have a full group to choose from.

Carlton Morris has scored five goals from the substitutes' bench in 2021 and is surely pushing for a starting spot on Friday.

That could be at the expense of Dominik Frieser, who was one of three players withdrawn by Ismael at half time in the loss to Wednesday.

Barnsley possible starting lineup:
Collins; Sollbauer, Helik, Andersen; Brittain, Palmer, Mowatt, Styles; Morris, Woodrow; Dike

Reading possible starting lineup:
Cabral; Holmes, Moore, Gibson, Richards; Rinomhota, Laurent; Meite, Olise, Ejaria; Joao

SM words green background

We say: Barnsley 1-2 Reading

Barnsley's momentum has been halted by the two-week break, which came on the back of a home loss to struggling rivals Sheffield Wednesday.

Reading's form has hardly been great of late, but they have won five of their six matches against teams from Yorkshire this term and we are backing them to pull off a big win here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Draw:data

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Reading manager Veljko Paunovic pictured in December 2020
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