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AFC Bournemouth: Spotlight on Barnsley
DRAWS may not be enough for Barnsley, which could come as an added source of disappointment to social media prankster Emmanuel Frimpong.
Upon completing a permanent transfer from Arsenal in January, the Ghanaian expressed his concern at how the move could lead to a drop in his success with the ladies.
At the time, midfielder Frimpong took to Instagram to post a message he later deleted which read “How am I gonna draw girls now”, complete with three crying faces after it.
The 22-year-old did little to endear himself to the locals when he was sent off on his debut, a 1-0 defeat by South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
However, while the Tykes currently prop up the Championship, their recent record – especially at Oakwell – is anything but relegation form, offering hope of another escape.
Previous manager David Flitcroft, who was sacked in November, presided over nine wins in the final 21 games of last season as Barnsley preserved their second-flight status for an eighth year running.
It was the second successive season in which the Tykes had finished one place above the relegation zone, with 17th in 2011 their highest placing since winning promotion via the play-offs in 2006.
Flitcroft paid the price for a dismal start to this campaign when he was shown the door with the Tykes marooned at the foot of the table, having mustered just 11 points from their opening 17 matches.
As if by magic, caretaker Micky Mellon then oversaw Barnsley’s first – and only – away win of the season when they upset the applecart to triumph 2-1 at Brighton in early December.
In an attempt to revive their fortunes, Barnsley reappointed Danny Wilson as manager in mid-December, the man who had guided them to the Premier League in 1997.
Wilson, who initially joined Barnsley as a player in 1993, failed to prevent an immediate return to the Championship as their stay in the top flight lasted just one season.
The former Sheffield Wednesday, MK Dons, Hartlepool, Swindon and Sheffield United boss has seen a steady improvement since his return and would have taken encouragement from recent results at home.
Since losing their festive double-header against Bolton and Derby at Oakwell, the Tykes have claimed three wins and two draws from their past six games on home soil.
Runaway leaders Leicester provided the only blemish as Blackpool (2-0), Millwall (1-0) and Nottingham Forest (1-0) have been beaten, while Ipswich (1-1) and Blackburn (2-2) have both drawn.
Barnsley, who lost eight of their first 11 league games, have the worst away record in the Championship having garnered only seven of their 29 points on their travels.
They are currently three points adrift at the bottom and host Cherries on the back of successive 3-0 defeats by Leicester and at Watford. Chris O’Grady with 11 is their leading goalscorer.
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