Barnsley v Doncaster Rovers: Personnel changes have impacted on Barnsley and Rovers more than relegation

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Barnsley manager Danny Wilson has refuted the claim his side are suffering a hangover from last season’s relegation.

The Reds have endured an inconsistent start to life back in League One after dropping down from the Championship in May.

Ross Turnbull. Picture: Andrew Roe

Ross Turnbull. Picture: Andrew Roe

Their Yorkshire rivals Doncaster Rovers arrive at Oakwell tonight having also struggled to adapt to the third tier following their dramatic demotion on the final day of the last campaign.

Both White Rose teams have won only a third of their league games so far and languish in the bottom half of the table, just three points above the bottom four.

Yeovil, who slipped through the trap door with them, are in an even worse position, sitting second bottom.

But Wilson believes his side have been a victim of a necessary overhaul of the playing staff, and that if anyone uses the excuse of a relegation hangover they should not be in football.

“I’ve never known the experience of there being a hangover,” said Wilson, whose side lost 2-1 to fellow strugglers Scunthorpe on Saturday.

“The players came back for pre-season and they were bright and energetic and ready to go again. Footballers are like that, they forget very quickly.

“People outside football suffer the hangover and that maybe reflects at times.

“From a player’s point of view, you just get on with it. If a player made the excuse of a hangover I’d have to challenge that.

“With Doncaster, ourselves and even Yeovil, as we get into the next part of the season you’ll see us all getting stronger.

“I don’t think for one minute you’ll see us all struggling.”

Paul Dickov’s Rovers go into the South Yorkshire derby in better form with just one defeat in six games. They are strongest away from the Keepmoat with five wins from nine games.

If any team was to have suffered a hangover it would have been Dickov’s men, given the collapse in form they suffered which resulted in their relegation on the last day of the season.

But Dickov, like Wilson, does not subscribe to that theory.

“In fairness to Barnsley, Yeovil and ourselves, there’s been a lot of changes in personnel,” said Dickov.

“Another factor is there’s a lot of big clubs in this league with big resources and it’s hard to compete with that.

“I’m sure Danny and Gary (Johnson) down at Yeovil would agree, you need a fully-fit squad, and when you get three or four injuries that’s when you’re a bit light and it can hit you.”

One man who has had a foot in both camps over the troubled last nine months is goalkeeper Ross Turnbull.

The former Chelsea player saved a penalty for Rovers in a goalless draw in the corresponding fixture last November, but moved west along the A635 in the summer amid takeover uncertainty at Doncaster.

There are no hard feelings between either party, with Dickov accepting that Turnbull was right to make the move with Rovers in limbo.

Turnbull said: “It’s frustrating at the end of the season seeing your team name on telly in the red of relegation, and the lads here at Barnsley were feeling the same.

“It was frustrating to go right to the last minute with Doncaster, but it’s a new season, new challenges, and you have to bounce back.

“We both would have hoped to have been higher up the table. At Barnsley we’re just trying to find that consistency again.”

Wilson has revealed that striker Sam Winnall will be out for three to four weeks with a hamstring strain.

Last six games: Barnsley DWWWLL, Doncaster DWLWWD.

Referee: N Miller (County Durham).

Last time: Barnsley 0 Doncaster 0; November 9, 2014; Championship.