IT is a case of deja vu for Cauley Woodrow.
This time last year, he and former Barnsley team-mate Kieffer Moore were pitted in a friendly duel to see who would emerge as the Reds’ top-scorer in 2018-19 and now he finds himself positioned in another intriguing contest.
This time around, the crown of Reds’ top-scorer will be fought out between himself and summer signing Conor Chaplin, although Woodrow’s wider motivation is all about team and not self, much like last term.
Chaplin has edged in front of nine-goal Woodrow, set to make his first start of 2020 today, after reaching double figures with a goal in the win over Huddersfield Town on January 11.
Last season, honours were fittingly shared with Woodrow and Moore scoring 19 goals apiece, with the glory associated with promotion representing the major source of pride to the pair.
Playing his part in a successful Championship survival mission and sharing the award again is probably something Woodrow would gladly take.
Chaps has been scoring and flying with confidence and Browny has been getting assists. It is about everyone.Cauley Woodrow
A switch of emphasis to Cup matters takes place today before the resumption of league business at Charlton.
For his part, Woodrow certainly would not begrudge Chaplin, crowned as the Sky Bet Championship player of the month for December, finding the net in his nostalgic return to Fratton Park today and potentially creeping further in front in the scoring charts.
Speaking ahead of the tie, Pompey chief Kenny Jackett insisted that the south coast club never wanted Chaplin to leave in the first place after he moved to Coventry in the summer of 2018.
During his time at Fratton Park, the academy graduate scored 25 goals in 122 appearances, but it is in Yorkshire where his career is really showing signs of taking off.
On a sentimental tie for his strike partner, Woodrow said: “He is excited. It is obviously nice to play against your old club at any moment.
“Hopefully, he can get a goal, which will be nice for him. I have Fulham away soon and that will also be good.
“It is a team game and Chaps and Browny (Jacob Brown) have done their part massively and been brilliant.
“Chaps has been scoring and flying with confidence and Browny has been getting assists. It is about everyone.
“It is not a competition at all. It does not matter who is scoring, as long as we win the game.
“Chaps is a really good player and really sharp and his finishing is good. It is not really a surprise.
“Sometimes it takes people a little time to adapt with a new club, environment and players. But he has settled in really well.”
For the second time this season, Barnsley’s players are assigned with producing a response of character after suffering a punishing defeat at the hands of Preston, who also inflicted a 5-1 reverse upon the Reds in Daniel Stendel’s final game in charge in early October.
Disappointed he may have been after making his comeback from the substitutes’ bench in the 3-0 home humbling by North End in midweek, but Woodrow did profess to a sense of relief in at least returning to action after a hamstring issue – with his return perhaps being the only crumb of consolation on the night for browbeaten Barnsley.
After being an unofficial cheerleader in the early weeks of the new year, Woodrow is happy to be back in the day job.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Pompey, where Barnsley have not won on their last six attempts since a 3-1 victory in March, 1999, Woodrow added: “It is one of those things. You have to focus on getting yourself fit and helping the team in different ways.
“You go and support the lads from the sidelines and stands and now I am back fit and looking forward to helping the team on the pitch.
“Tuesday was a bit of a shock to us as we had been playing really well. But we have to forget about it and move on. I am sure we will be back to our old selves.
“We were probably written off before the manager came in and we need to forget about Tuesday and, hopefully, get a positive result on Saturday.
“Portsmouth is a tough place to go and we knew how good they were last season.
“But we are a good team and we go there to win.”
Last six games: Portsmouth DWWWWW; Barnsley DLWWLL.
Referee: G Scott (Oxon).
Last time: Portsmouth 0 Barnsley 0, February 23, 2019; League One.