Birmingham City v Barnsley: St Andrew’s pressure for Championship strugglers

ST ANDREW’S will certainly not be a place for the faint-hearted this afternoon.

Barnsley’s travails at the foot of the Championship have been well chronicled, but the pressure is shared today with a confidence-sapped Birmingham side who are reeling after a 6-2 midweek mauling at Fulham.

Blues have not won in their past seven matches and are sliding inexorably down the table.

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Birmingham’s home has also been benign to Barnsley in recent seasons with the Reds having lost just once on their last seven visits, winning on four occasions.

Tykes head coach Poya Asbaghi. Picture: Tony Johnson

Barnsley head coach Poya Asbaghi, whose side are due to return to action after missing their last three league matches due to Covid issues, said: “I think it is two teams who will definitely be under pressure and let’s see how much that is shown on the pitch.

“I think the team that can handle the pressure in the best way will have a big advantage and hopefully that team can be us.”

You have to go back to April for the last occasion that Barnsley won on their travels, a time when the mood and outlook of the club was entirely transformed.

That positivity has descended into apathy and in many cases anger among growing sections of a disgruntled fanbase following the club’s calamitous slide.

Last spring, the Reds were envisaging a play-off tilt whereas now they are in desperate strife at the foot of the table and require hope not just in terms of results on the pitch, but also by way of some positive transfer business.

Asbaghi said: “Everybody in the club, no matter if you work on the transfer scene or it is me as a coach and my players, all of us want to send messages to the fans that we take this situation really seriously and we want to help the club and team to improve.

“As much as you can have one unit, no matter who your feelings are, that will always be the best for the team.

“When a football team is playing, every player on the pitch will not always be happy with what their other team-mates are doing because you will sometime be frustrated as a player that this player didn’t run and this player didn’t score.

“But in those moments when you have frustration, it is really important that the players stick together and are one unit because that is what will beat opponents.

“That is also something you can use with a football club. There are 100 reasons for people to be frustrated, but sometimes you have to control it to be one unit in the most decisive moment when the club needs it the most.”