Stoke will face a Barnsley side aiming to continue their 'great escape'

BARNSLEY will be aiming to continue their great escape from relegation to League One when they travel to face Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium this Saturday.

The Tyke's revival, with five Championship wins from their last eight games, has carried on relentless despite the intervention of Covid-19.

Second half goals from Conor Chaplin and Jacob Brown saw off 10-man Blackburn Rovers last night (June 30), making it seven points from nine since their return from lockdown.

Blackburn were reduced to 10 men following the sending off of Ben Brereton, the England U19s and U20s striker, who was snapped up by Notts Forest after being released by Stoke.

Brereton, from Blythe Bridge, was last year sold by Forest to Blackburn for a fee believed to be £7million in January 2019. He initially joined the Lancashire club on loan in August 2018.

The 22-year-old received his marching orders during last night's game for a lunge on Barnsley's Ludewig Brown as he raced onto a Alex Mowatt pass.

Barnsley head coach Gerhard Struber said of his side's latest win: "They showed how hard they are fighting to stay up. It's about maintaining or momentum."

After their trip to the Bet365, the Barnsley have testing games against Luton and Wigan, two other teams who have emerged from lockdown with a spring in their step.

Stoke on the other hand have failed to pick up from their pre-lockdown impressive 5-1 home win against Hull City and have collected just one point from a possible nine since their return.

Last night's dismal performance by Stoke at Wigan sparked an angry reaction from Stoke boss Michael O'Neill.

"It's probably the worse performance we've had since my time at the club and a real concern given where we are at the moment," he said.

"We were second best all over the pitch and that's an individual thing.

"You have to have the appetite to ply, you have to have the courage to play. You have to have the respect of your team-mates, respect for your club and we didn't have any of that."

It was a particularly disappointing night for Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross who was credited with a 40th minute own goal. Kal Naismith sealed Wigan's win with strikes in the 65th and 68th minutes.

Picture: Former Stoke City academy player Ben Brereton was sent off playing for Blackburn.


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