Barnsley manager Keith Hill has warned his side that Birmingham will prove to be a tough side to beat even without their key striker Nikola Zigic.
Zigic has been on exceptional form, scoring four goals in the Blues recent defeat of Leeds but he has been out with a knee injury since then and will not appear in this weekend’s game. Birmingham have not slowed without him though, having won seven of their last eight games and climbing to third in the Championship table.
Hill sees the scale of the challenge facing Barnsley and is aware that his defenders will have to be on top form to keep Birmingham at bay. Having conceded more goals this season than all bar two teams in the division(Ipswich and Peterborough) it will take a significant improvements on recent defensive frailties which have seen the Tykes fail to keep a clean sheet in 13 games.
Hill is frustrated by outsiders claiming a new goal scorer is the answer to Barnsley’s woes since the departure of Ricardo Vaz Te. He points out that consistently his side have scored plenty of goals but consistently conceded too many too. In the long term he is demanding a removal of the “it’s OK to concede goals mentality” as he puts it, and is considering bringing in new defenders in the future if the problem is not fixed soon.
Barnsley welcome back defenders Scott Golbourne, Jay McEvely and Jim O’Brien for the Birmingham game, giving them more options at the back should they wish to shake things up a bit. The task for one of the most generous defences in the division will be a tough one against one of the league’s most impressive attacks. Whichever way this game goes Barnsley’s record more or less guarantees one thing. There will almost certainly be goals.