Sheffield Wednesday v Barnsley - Cauley Woodrow remains spot on for Reds with more rounded game

Fans or no fans, Barnsley’s Cauley Woodrow will still appreciate the importance of winning at Hillsborough today – and if his side is awarded a penalty, he will be very keen to take it.

OPEN MINDED: Barnsley's Cauley Woodrow is enjoying his new role this season for the Reds. Picture: Tony Johnson

Five of the striker’s six Championship goals this season have been penalties.

The latest, against Wycombe Wanderers on Wednesday, brought a 2-1 win which means his side should be the more confident going into this afternoon’s derby encounter.

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Bottom of the table and still to win under new manager Tony Pulis, some will feel Sheffield Wednesday are under more pressure but Woodrow insists both sides will feel the heat.

WINNING TOUCH: Cauley Woodrow strikes his penalty under Wycombe Wanderers keeper Ryan Allsop to put the Reds 2-1 up on Wednesday night. Picture: Tony Johnson

“Every single game in this league is so hard, the teams at the top lose against the teams at the bottom, so I don’t think either team will be feeling more pressure,” he argues.

“We’re under as much pressure as they are, there’s still a long way to go until the end of the season and every three points is vital in this league.

“It’s obviously different without fans.

“Last season when we played them at home the whole away stand was full with Sheffield Wednesday fans and it adds spice to the game, but as players we know how important it is to the football club and the fans and we’ll do everything we can to get the three points.

CHANGE OF TACK: Barnsley head coach Valerien Ismael is using Cauley Woodrow more as a No 9 this season. Picture: Tony Johnson

“It’s a great stadium to play at. I’ve played there a few times but it’ll be the first time without any fans.

“It’s a massive pitch and a lot of space and the manager likes us to get the ball in behind and put teams on the back foot. Hopefully, that can suit us.”

That Woodrow is getting so many chances from 12 yards is a good sign, and he does not care that they are making up the vast majority of his goals.

“We’re running at people and getting in the box,” he says. “Twice I’ve been brought down so we’re obviously getting in good areas and people have got good feet to win penalties.

“For me it’s just a repetition and a focus thing. If I do my steps right I fancy myself to score.

“When I was younger I probably didn’t look into it as much as I did now but it’s more about your nerves and controlling yourself.

“Anyone can hit the ball in the corner from 12 yards out but it is more of a focus thing and getting yourself ready for it.

“My goal got us three points on Wednesday so it doesn’t really matter if it’s in open play, a penalty, a free-kick or whatever. If I get the opportunity to score in open play, like I’ve proved however many times at this club, I will do it.”

Woodrow is making a good contribution to the front three coach Valerien Ismael has introduced at Oakwell, and thinks the job he did for his current boss’s predecessor, Gerhard Struber, has developed his game.

“Last season I usually played as a 10 with two in front of me but it’s nice when you’re a nine,” he reflects. “The manager wants the two other forward players to play close and in the style we’re playing it’s really important so that when the ball comes up to me even if I don’t win it, the second balls are dropping down to Chaps (Conor Chaplin) or Luke (Thomas).

“It definitely helped my game massively to play as a 10. I pretty much played the whole season there, which I never would have thought I’d do. It’s helped my understanding of the other side of the game, the defensive side, which this manager is big on.”

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