Barnsley FC v Nottingham Forest: Reds cannot rely on Obbi Oulare to solve goalscoring problem

YOU get the impression that Markus Schopp is already tired of fielding questions about the availability of Obbi Oulare and you can hardly blame him.

First, there was the delay in the Barnsley striker’s visa being processed by the Home Office after his arrival from Standard Liege, which prompted co-chairman Paul Conway to lambast the government department and call the situation ‘ludicrous’ in late August.

In truth, the situation regarding his fitness, with the forward yet to make his bow due to injury, is more disconcerting.

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Barnsley have not scored a second-half goal since the first day of the season – making the absence of Oulare and fellow injured striker Carlton Morris all that more obvious.

Needing goals: Cauley Woodrow is Barnsley’s joint-top goalscorer in the Championship this season with two goals. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Only four players have found the net at league level this term with Cauley Woodrow and Dominik Frieser being the top scorers with two goals apiece.

It is one of many frustrations for Schopp, who must do without coaching duo Tonda Eckert and Jo Laumann in the dug-out tonight with the pair handed touchline bans by the Football Association following their involvement in a fracas late on in draw at Stoke on September 15.

Admitting there is no time-scale on Oulare, Schopp – whose side are winless in seven matches – said: “He is struggling again with his back.

“With Obbi, it would be the best solution if we are coming out and can (finally) say: ‘now he is fit.’

Victor Adeboyejo of Barnsley FC (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

“Otherwise, it is all about this discussion.

“He is trying his best to get fit, but when he makes one step forward, an injury (relapse) brings him back one or two steps.We must have a lot of patience with him as when he is fit, he can really help us.

“If we try to push him hard to get him closer, it is one step forward and two steps back.”

With six goals in nine league games thus far this season, it is clear to see where Barnsley’s early-season problems lie, although in fairness, their forward contingent have hardly been provided with a surfeit of chances either, with the supply line having been pretty poor.

Barnsley are still waiting to see Obbi Oulare (Picture: BRUNO FAHY/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

That said, Schopp believes the striking pool need to sharpen themselves up. He said: “We need to be making more correct decisions to be more clinical. We’re not talking about one guy, but a couple who sometimes look for nicer solutions and not the easy one to score. As coaches, we can bring it up and show clips, but they have to do it better and faster with one touch.

“When I watch them in training sessions, they do it. I know what it is like. Sometimes, you can start scoring and you don’t know why you score in the next couple.”

Eckert has been banned from the touchline for three matches, starting this evening and fined for his part in the unsavoury scenes at Stoke, while Laumann will be absent from the dugout for the next two matches.

Both have also been issued with fines, while Barnsley and Stoke have been handed club punishments of £8,000 and £10,000 respectively.

Both clubs admitted they failed to ensure their players and staff conducted themselves in an orderly fashion and refrained from provocative behaviour.

Stoke coaching duo Dean Holden and Rory Delap were also fined and given one-match bans.

Last six games: Barnsley DDLDDL; Nottingham Forest LDLLWD.

Referee: G Eltringham (Tyne and Wear).

Last time: Barnsley 2 Nottingham Forest 0, November 21, 2020; Championship.