Barnsley v Reading live stream, Sky Sports, Friday 2nd April, 5:30pm BST
The Championship returns on Good Friday, and Barnsley welcome fellow play-off contenders Reading to Oakwell in the evening kick-off.
Reading were the league’s pace-setters but have tailed off and will drop out of the top six should they lose at Oakwell and Bournemouth win at home to Middlesbrough earlier in the day.
As for Barnsley, their surprise 2-1 defeat at home to struggling Sheffield Wednesday before the international break ended a 12-match unbeaten run. That form saw them surge up the table and into the play-offs, having survived in dramatic fashion on the final day of last season.
Under Valerien Ismael, the Tykes have emerged as serious challengers for a top-six finish, thanks to their extremely intense, high-pressing game. They won seven games in a row before being held to a goalless draw at Derby earlier this month.
The Royals, meanwhile, won seven and drew one of their opening eight games of 2020/21, but they’ve recorded only 11 victories in 30 outings since, recently losing to relegation threatened Wycombe and Birmingham. Veljko Paunovic’s side haven’t won away to a team in the top half since beating Blackburn 4-2 back in October.
September’s reverse fixture between these teams finished 2-0 Reading, with Yakou Meite and Michael Olise on the scoresheet and defenders Michal Helik and Mads Andersen both seeing red for Barnsley.
Barnsley could be without Helik on Friday as he’s away on international duty with Poland, who play England at Wembley on Wednesday. Reading may have the same problem with Romanian striker George Puscas – Romania travel to Armenia – while Benfica loanee Alfa Semedo will have to quarantine after playing for Guinea-Bissau in red-listed Eswatini.
Kick-off is at 5:30pm BST and the game is being shown on Sky Sports Main Event in the UK.
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