Analysis: Sheffield Wednesday face direct questions if Barnsley FC press for success again
Both South Yorkshire side like to mix up how they play, which probably explains why they are in Monday’s League One play-off final.
But Barnsley love a good press, and it has worked in back-to-back wins over the neighbours this term.
At Oakwell, Wednesday were caught cold early on trying to play too much football on a blood-and-thunder occasion that might have been the best game the division saw all season. When they realised, and went more direct, they turned a 2-0 deficit into 2-2 only for the Reds to “reset” for a 4-2 victory.
The Owls tried to play the ball around from the restart after Devante Cole's early opener, but when Aden Flint passed to Will Vaulks with Luca Connell at his back, he was harassed into giving it to Cole, who found James Norwood for 2-0.
"It’s self-inflicted the goals," complained former Barnsley centre-back Moore. “To give them the first two goals in the manner that we gave them was really disappointing."
As Michael Duff put it: "Wednesday wanted to play and pass and we managed to keep pinching it.”
It was similar in Barnsley’s 2-0 win at Hillsborough, where home goalkeeper David Stockdale allowed Luke Thomas to smash a shot against the crossbar. Cole scored after pouncing on a heavy touch.
Two-nil down at Oakwell, the Owls changed tack, went over the press and scored twice through Lee Gregory before Barnsley hit back.
“They went route one and we had to deal with it,” said Duff. “We probably didn’t deal with it quite well enough because they got back to 2-2."
Duff is shrewd enough to have more than one way of playing.
"Sometimes, we play out and sometimes we don't."
In Friday's semi-final victory over Bolton Wanderers, "We basically had two presses."
So the Owls need centre-backs good enough to handle the ball when they come.
The giant centre-back had been benched and Moore must think about whether to retain Reece James – accomplished enough on the ball for Moore to have used him as a midfielder and at Doncaster Rovers as a winger – in his back three, or if Michael Ihiekwe needs more help should the Reds go aerial.
Palmer's holding midfield role that night may come into question not because of how he did, but what else he can do, and the option of bringing Vaulks back if he moves. He was, though, fantastic.
Callum Paterson excelled at wing-back but if the Owls go more direct, they might want him alongside Michael Smith to win knockdowns.
His squad’s versatility and unusually low injury count means Moore is not short of options. But that press will have to be in his thoughts.