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Preview: Barnsley vs. Swansea City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Monday's Championship clash between Barnsley and Swansea City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Barnsley play host to Swansea City in the first leg of their Championship playoff semi-final looking to move a step closer to an unlikely promotion to the Premier League.

While The Tykes ended the season with a draw against champions Norwich City, the fourth-placed visitors were comfortably defeated by runners-up Watford.


Match preview

Barnsley manager Valerien Ismael pictured on February 11, 2021© Reuters

Despite having claimed a playoff spot with several matches to spare, the majority of Barnsley supporters will still feel like they are in dreamland after a memorable seven months under Valerien Ismael.

While the Tykes were far more inconsistent during the final eight weeks of the campaign, picking up 14 points from their remaining nine games was more than enough to see off the challenge of Reading.

Over two decades on from their last appearance in the Premier League, Ismael has had to work hard to prevent his squad from getting distracted by the talk and emotion outside of the dressing room.

Nevertheless, he will not want to lose any of the passion and energy which has got them to this stage, and the Frenchman will take encouragement from the 2-2 draw against the all-conquering Canaries last weekend.

Daryl Dike and Carlton Morris have scored 16 goals between them since their January arrivals, the clear difference maker between mid-table and fifth position.

Watford's Philip Zinckernagel in action with Swansea City's Jake Bidwell and Marc Guehi on May 8, 2021© Reuters

Having spent much of the season competing for automatic promotion, Steve Cooper will still be frustrated that his Swansea side tailed off during the closing two months of the season.

The Welsh outfit prevailed in just three of their final 11 matches, a period which included four successive defeats between March 16 and April 5.

Swansea improved in the final three matches, claiming a draw away at then-rivals Reading and coming from behind to overcome Derby County at the Liberty Stadium.

However, Swansea have conceded the first goal in their last five fixtures, a streak which realistically needs to be ended if they want to return to the top flight.

Andre Ayew and Jamal Lowe have scored 30 of Swansea's 56 goals in the Championship this season, heaping the pressure on the pair to deliver in the final third during this double-header.

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

Swansea City Championship form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • L



Team News

Alex Mowatt celebrates scoring for Barnsley against Watford on October 31, 2020© Reuters

Ismael has revealed that Alex Mowatt should be available to return for Barnsley after recovering from a groin injury.

Michael Sollbauer and Dike could also feature in the starting lineup after beginning the game with Norwich as substitutes.

With the Tykes using a back three, Swansea boss Cooper will contemplate reverting back to the system which proved so effective during the first half of the season.

However, everything points to a 4-3-3 formation being used with Liam Cullen joining Ayew and Lowe in the final third.

Ryan Manning and Jake Bidwell are competing for a spot at left-back, but the likes of Korey Smith and Morgan Whittaker are expected to be named on the substitutes' bench.

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

Swansea City possible starting lineup:
Woodman; Roberts, Bennett, Guehi, Manning; Hourihane, Grimes, Fulton; Lowe, Cullen, Ayew


SM words green background

We say: Barnsley 1-1 Swansea City

With these two clubs regarded as outsiders for promotion, we expect nerves to play their part over the two legs. With that in mind, do not be surprised to see a low-scoring first leg with both teams anxious about giving too much away ahead of the reverse fixture.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com 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:curl


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How you voted: Barnsley vs Swansea

Barnsley
42.1%
Draw
16.4%
Swansea City
41.5%
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Bournemouth manager Jonathan Woodgate pictured on February 20, 2021
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A closer look at the four teams vying for Championship playoff glory
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CNorwich CityNorwich462910775363997
4Swansea CitySwansea4623111256391780
5Barnsley46239145850878
6Bournemouth4622111373462777
7Reading461913146254870
8Cardiff CityCardiff4618141466491768
9Queens Park RangersQPR461911165755268
10Middlesbrough461810185553264
11Millwall461517144752-562
12Luton TownLuton461711184152-1162
13Preston North EndPreston46187214956-761
14Stoke CityStoke461515165052-260
15Blackburn RoversBlackburn4615121965541157
16Coventry CityCoventry461413194961-1255
17Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest461216183745-852
18Birmingham CityBirmingham461313203761-2452
19Bristol City46156254668-2251
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield461213215071-2149
21Derby CountyDerby461111243658-2244
RWycombe WanderersWycombe461110253969-3043
RRotherham UnitedRotherham46119264460-1642
RSheffield WednesdaySheff Weds461211234061-2141

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