Barnsley travel to Birmingham City today hoping for another New Year’s revival act.
The Reds looked doomed at this stage last season, too, losing 2-1 on New Year’s Day against Peterborough United to sit bottom of the Championship and four points off safety.
But that proved the turning point under Dave Flitcroft as the Tykes launched a nine-game unbeaten streak, including eight wins and a draw, which encompassed a confidence-boosting FA Cup run and gave them the platform to escape relegation on the final day of the season.
Twelve months on and Barnsley, under new manager Danny Wilson, find themselves in a worse position, five points adrift of safety following a 2-1 defeat to Derby County on Sunday.
Not that Reds midfielder Tomasz Cywka, who netted a stunning consolation goal against the Rams, is ready to throw in the towel just yet.
“All of the lads believe we can get out of it,” said the Polish midfielder.
“We definitely believe we can do it again. We were in a similar situation last season and all the lads know with their experience what it takes.”
Derby are the in-form team in the Championship, but the Reds came close to earning an unlikely point after Cywka’s lifeline.
“The last 20 minutes showed that we can do it,” he said. “Everything goes so quick on the pitch you can’t really think about it. I took my chance and it went in. But I would rather score an ugly goal that would get us some points over a nice goal.”
A repeat of Barnsley’s last trip to Birmingham would do nicely, a 5-0 win as Craig Davies netted four goals to stun the Blues.
Last six: Birmingham City DDWDDW, Barnsley WLDDLL.
Last time: Birmingham City 0 Barnsley 5; September 22, 2012; Championship.
Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).