BARNSLEY may have emphatically served notice of their upwardly-mobile League One credentials already, but Andreas Winkler believes that patience may prove a virtue today.
Early pacesetters at the top of League One alongside neighbours Doncaster Rovers and several others, the Reds are seeking to replicate the early-season feats of their feted promotion class of 1996-97 by winning a third successive league game at the beginning of a campaign for the first time in 22 years today.
They have not conceded a goal and it will be very important to penetrate their defence and wear them down with good ball possession.Andreas Winkler
The Reds’ outstanding 4-0 opening-day destruction of Oxford has certainly whetted the appetite of the Oakwell faithful who will assemble today, but with that comes expectation – with Barnsley, alongside Sunderland, likely to be seen as a prized League One scalp this season.
On that particular topic, assistant head-coach Winkler said: “Maybe. That is the situation if you are top of the league.
“We talk about that, for sure, and speak about trying to find a solution.”
The German quipped: “The expectation will be to score five (at home) now! But every match is a hard one and every week the opponent will be better prepared.
“We have to get the winning mentality and try to stick to our plan for 90 minutes.”
The early-season statistics of opponents AFC Wimbledon indeed suggest that Barnsley may be in for a less straightforward afternoon than the one they enjoyed in dominant early-season wins over Oxford and Bradford City.
The Dons have made an impressive start to their season with a four-point haul, with their obduracy in conceding no league goals being particularly striking.
The club’s time-honoured traits of taking great delight in being cast as party-poopers and making fools of those who write them off has also already come to the fore in their first two away assignments of 2018-19.
The Londoners – tipped by many pundits as relegation favourites before a ball was kicked – have already spoiled Joey Barton’s first match in charge at Fleetwood and also knocked Portsmouth out of the Carabao Cup at Fratton Park in midweek.
Winkler observed: “They have not conceded a goal and it will be very important to penetrate their defence and wear them down with good ball possession.
“They have a very good defence and it will be a tough match.”
Captain Adam Davies, Liam Lindsay, Alex Mowatt, Brad Potts and Kieffer Moore are likely to be restored to the starting line-up.