Weblog: The football punter

Stendel's Tykes can keep up fine run at Doncaster

Sky Sports Football & Main Event, 7.45pm Friday

Sky Bet League One highflyers Barnsley have continued piling up the points despite losing top scorer Kieffer Moore to a season-ending head injury and they may be too strong for promotion-chasing Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Moore contributed 16 goals in 27 league matches but his involvement in the campaign was curtailed in early February following a sickening collision with Gillingham defender Gabriel Zakuani.

But Barnsley have responded by claiming three wins and three draws to strengthen their position in the automatic promotion places.

They were unfortunate to draw 0-0 at home to Sunderland on Tuesday having bossed the game for long periods and won the shot count 14 to six.

But the result maintained Barnsley's four-point gap to the Black Cats and, after taking on Doncaster, they do not have to face any more of the top six teams.

Donny are hanging onto the last playoff place despite failing to win any of their last five league games.

They came from behind to draw 1-1 at eighth-placed Blackpool on Tuesday and are strengthened by the return from suspension of 18-goal top scorer John Marquis, who was sent off during last Saturday's 2-0 defeat at basement boys Wimbledon.

But Donny's confidence has been ebbing away and their remaining schedule, which include trips to Luton and Sunderland, looks far from straightforward.

On-loan Leeds forward Mallik Wilks has been Doncaster's brightest spark in recent weeks, scoring four goals in his last eight appearances, but Marquis has not scored for more than a month and will need to rediscover his A-game if Doncaster are to keep their promotion dream alive.

While Doncaster look unhealthily reliant on Marquis, Barnsley have shown they can cope without a handful of key players.

Midfield regulars Cameron McGeehan and Jacob Brown have missed the last two games through suspension and will be absent against Doncaster but Barnsley continue to play their high-intensity, slick brand of football to great effect.

Daniel Stendel's side haven't lost a league game since a 1-0 reverse at Wycombe in early December and look well worth backing with the draw no bet.

Barnsley draw no bet

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Match in Focus

15:00 Sa 25May SKY

Newport Co v Tranmere

Home WinDrawAway Win
Key stats
  • Newport are unbeaten in 12 matches.
Expert verdict
Michael Flynn’s Newport headed into the playoffs as the fourth tier’s form side, securing seventh spot by finishing the season ten games unbeaten. Tranmere will know all too well about County’s disciplined defensive, having failed to score in both league meetings with them and, even with James Norwood leading the line, they look vulnerable.