Chester FC go into tonight’s re-play with the prospect of reaching the FA Cup third round for the first time since 2007, if they can dispatch of Championship struggler’s Barnsley. Although, manager Steve Burr is under no illusions his team face a “tough” challenge.
Barnsley were taken aback last time the pair met at Oakwell on December 7 and can count themselves lucky they escaped with a goalless draw and now have a change to put their losing streak behind them by advancing in the cup. Barnsley are without a win in five and a 3-1 defeat at Walsall on Saturday has left the Tykes just three points off the League One relegation spot.
Meanwhile, Chester’s fortunate have been somewhat different, having lost only once in seven and are unbeaten in eight matches at the Deva stadium, with their last home defeat way back in September. No doubt, an upset seems to be on the cards but Barnsley have something to prove and they will be hoping to show their Championship pedigree on the night. Chester manager Steve Burr acknowledged “they’re a good side” after the last meeting but with a third round tie, away to Championship club Middlesbrough, and £27,00 in prize money on the line there is all to play for going into tonight’s match.
Chester will be looking to striker Craig Hobson to provide the fire power up top as they will be without on-load Barnsley forward Rhys Oates who is cup tied for the fixture. Both Michael Kay and Matty Brown who were both taken off early on Saturdays 1-1 draw at Telford both look set to return despite Kay picking up a knock. Although, Midfield pair Josh O’Keefe and Peter Winn will both be side-lined with injuries. The team will however be strengthen by the presence of goalkeeper, Jon Worsnop, who will continue in goal with the aid of a protective mask after fracturing two bones in his cheek the last time the two met at Oakwell. Burr will probably look to field a similar side he selected in the previous encounter with Barnsley and knows he will be relying on similarly fantastic performances from the likes of Worsnop if they want to pull the upset.
Prior to tonight’s match Barnsley manager Danny Wilson has stated the importance of getting back to winning ways and sees tonight as ” a stepping stone to getting back on the horse again”, insisting his players “understand the fans want to look forward to something going into the New Year”.
Although Barnsley may not be the same side that reached the FA cup semi-final in 2008 they will be heading to the Deva tonight with a lot to prove and keen to change their fortunes against Conference opposition. Chester will be no push overs though, as their home form has proven, and the incentive of lively cup run after the New Year may help them sprint the upset. Here’s hoping Chester Win!