THE PITMEN’S DERBY takes place on Saturday afternoon with both Doncaster Rovers and Barnsley desperately seeking League One points for contrasting reasons.
Rovers, with Rob Jones at the helm for the fifth time as interim-manager, head into the game on the back of a six-match winless streak, although spirits were lifted by an improved second-half performance against Swindon, spoiled only by a late concession in a 2-2 draw.
That said, Rovers sit too close to the foot of the League One table for comfort and for a 20-minute spell on Tuesday night, actually resided at the bottom of the division.
For Barnsley, it is all about upward momentum with Lee Johnson’s troops having taken seven points from the last nine.
The Reds are set to be roared on by a big travelling contingent at the Keepmoat - although the statistics show that they haven’t beaten their near-neighbours in the past five outings, although four have ended as draws.
A home win and Rovers move to within three points of Barnsley to start repairing some damage following a poor start to the campaign. If the Reds win, they move nine points clear of Doncaster.
Here’s all you need to know about Rovers and the Reds heading into the game.
CURRENT POSITIONS - Doncaster (22nd); played 10, won 1, drawn 5, lost 4, for 7, against 13, goal difference -6, points 8.
Barnsley (11th) played 9, won 4, drawn 2, lost 3, for 13, against 12, goal difference 1, points 14.
Doncaster: Andy Williams (3).
Barnsley: Sam Winnall (4).
LAST FIVE MEETINGS
Doncaster 1 Barnsley 0; January 17, 2015.
Harry Forrester came off the bench to score a splendid late curled winner for Rovers against a decidedly muted Reds side who brought little to the table in a disappointing showing.
Doncaster born Mason Holgate was handed a straight red card in stoppage-time for a a late challenge on Richie Wellens, with Forrester having netted four minutes from time.
Prior to the goal, Rovers spurned several opportunities, with Danny Wilson’s Reds managing just one shot on target.
Barnsley 1 Doncaster 1, December 2, 2014.
Barnsley and Doncaster shared the spoils in a pre-Christmas encounter at Oakwell.
The hosts went ahead within five minutes through Lewin Nyatanga’s free header from Conor Hourihane’s corner - the defender’s first goal for the club.
Hourihane had two chances to make it 2-0 and Leroy Lita went close, while Ross Turnbull made great saves from Donny’s Theo Robinson and Kyle Bennett.
Robinson levelled by putting away his own rebound after a well-worked move on 52 minutes.
Doncaster 2 Barnsley 2, February 15, 2014.
Nick Proschwitz’s late leveller earned Barnsley a vital point as they drew 2-2 at Rovers in a relegation six-pointer.
The big German striker, on loan from Hull City, gave the Reds the lead as he looped over a hesitant Sam Johnstone in the Rovers goal.
But James Coppinger’s brace - he hit his first into an empty net before finding the top corner with a deflected effort - put the home side ahead.
Proschwitz went close before turning in a low cross a minute from time.
Barnsley 0 Doncaster 0, November 9, 2013.
The two derby rivals played out a tame Championship stalemate at Oakwell.
The drama chiefly arrived before the kick-off when Rovers chairman John Ryan announced his resignation ahead of kick-off before sitting with the 2,000 Doncaster fans in the away end in the second-half amid cries of ‘There’s only one John Ryan’, ‘Walking in a Ryan Wonderland’ and ‘You’re Rovers until You Die’.
The main action of note saw Rovers keeper Ross Turnbull, who spent two loan spells at Barnsley earlier in his career and who would subsequently sign a permanent deal at the club the following summer, save a first-half penalty from Chris O’Grady after Bongani Khumalo brought down Marcus Pedersen.
Doncaster 2 Barnsley 0, January 2, 2012.
Rovers started the New Year in the best possible fashion, with their third consecutive home win ensuring a miserable beginning to 2012 for the Reds.
Goals from James Hayter and Kyle Bennett saw Rovers move off the bottom of the Championship to provide a derby reality check for Keith Hill’s side, who had dispatched Leeds United 4-1 on New Year’s Eve.
Hayter took advantage of good work from Billy Sharp just before the quarter-hour to break the deadlock by side-footing home past Luke Steele.
Barnsley had few chances with Ricardo Vaz Te going closest.
With a minute remaining, Bennett sealed the points with a shot from 20 yards.
LAST FIVE GAMES
Doncaster 2 (Anderson, Williams pen) Swindon 2; Sheffield United 3 Doncaster 1 (Stewart); Doncaster 1 (Butler) Oldham 1; Walsall 2 Doncaster 0; Gillingham 1 Doncaster 0.
Barnsley 2 (Pearson, Winnall) Gillingham 0; Blackpool 1 Barnsley 1 (Hourihane); Barnsley 4 (Nyatanga, Watkins, Wabara, Hourihane) Swindon 1; Barnsley 1 (Winnall) Shrewsbury 2; Scunthorpe 1 Barnsley 2 (Nyatanga, Watkins), Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
PLAYED FOR BOTH CLUBS - Reece Wabara, Cameron Stewart, David Cotterill, Ross Turnbull, Darren Moore, Michael McIndoe, Jim Dobbin, Glynn Snodin, Alan Little