What a difference a few days make for Barnsley.
On April 9th, the Tykes were facing the prospect of falling three points behind automatic promotion rivals Sunderland as Jack Ross’ side faced off against Burton Albion. However, despite entering the clash as overwhelming favourites, the Black Cats failed to fully capitalise at the Stadium of Light as they were held to a draw by the Brewers.
Although this gave the Wearside-outfit a one-point advantage over Barnsley, events on Saturday saw the League One standings switch once again. By securing a 4-2 victory over Fleetwood Town at Oakwell, Barnsley moved back into second place in the standings after Sunderland suffered a shock 5-4 home defeat at the hands of Coventry City.
With four games left to play for Daniel Stendel’s side this season, the German will be totally focused on securing maximum points yet he could still be helped by results elsewhere. Sunderland are scheduled to play fellow promotion challengers Portsmouth on April 27th with the outcome of this game likely to have a major impact on the race to finish in the top-two.
Both sides have played one game less than Barnsley and so if either of them can finish the campaign with five victories, they will guarantee Championship football for next season. However, if this particular showdown ends in a draw, the Tykes know that their fate will be in their own hands heading into the final week of fixtures in League One.
Although there is expected to be a number of twists and turns in the third tier before Pompey visit the Stadium of Light later this month, the importance of this fixture cannot be underestimated as it will undoubtedly have ramifications for the rest of the promotion challengers.
What do you think Barnsley fans? How important is the clash between Portsmouth and Sunderland in terms of your club’s promotion hopes? Can Stendel lead your side to four wins in their last four matches? Get in touch below.