Preview: Oxford United vs. Barnsley – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s League One clash between Oxford United and Barnsley, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two teams battling for promotion from League One this season will lock horns for an intriguing contest on Tuesday evening, with sixth-placed Oxford United welcoming fifth-placed Barnsley.

The home side will enter the contest off the back of a 3-1 victory at Carlisle United on January 13, while Barnsley beat the same opponents 2-1 in their last game on January 16.

Match preview

© Reuters

Oxford have never played in the Championship, so the team are chasing history this season, and an impressive campaign to date has left them in sixth position in the League One table on 49 points.

Des Buckingham‘s side have won 15, drawn four and lost seven of their 26 league games this season, and they are level on points with fifth-placed Barnsley and just six behind Peterborough United in second.

It is fascinating at the top of the League One table, as just seven points separate the top six, demonstrating the importance of this contest, and Oxford will enter the fixture off the back of a 3-1 win over Carlisle on January 13.

Oxford had been due to face Northampton Town on Saturday, but the match was called off due to a frozen pitch, with the surface at the Kassam Stadium not deemed to be usable.

The U’s recorded a 3-1 victory over Barnsley when the two teams locked horns in the reverse match last August, but they were beaten 2-1 by Tuesday’s opponents in the corresponding fixture during the 2022-23 campaign.

General view of Barnsley's Oakwell ground from January 2018© Reuters

Barnsley, meanwhile, will enter this match off the back of a 2-1 success over Carlisle on January 16, which stretched their unbeaten run in the third tier of English football to 10 matches.

Neill Collins‘s side have won six and drawn four of their last 10 games in League One, with their strong run of form moving them up into fifth position in the table, boasting a record of 14 wins, seven draws and five defeats from their 26 matches during the 2023-24 campaign.

The Tykes finished fourth in League One last season, which saw them make the playoffs, dispatching Bolton Wanderers in the semi-finals, but they were beaten 1-0 by Sheffield Wednesday in the final.

Barnsley, who saw Saturday’s clash with Stevenage called off due to a frozen pitch, were relegated from the Championship at the end of the 2021-22 season, so they are in their second straight campaign at this level, but they will be expecting to seriously challenge for a return to the second tier.

Collins’s team have impressed on their travels this season, picking up 25 points from their 12 matches, recording seven wins in the process, but Oxford have also won seven of their 12 fixtures on home soil.

Oxford United League One form:

Oxford United form (all competitions):

Barnsley League One form:

Team News

Oxford have not been in action since January 13, so tiredness should not be an issue, and it is more than likely that head coach Buckingham will name an unchanged side from the success over Carlisle.

Mark Harris moved onto 10 goals for the season with a brace last time out, and the 25-year-old is a certainty to feature in the final third of the field once again.

Cameron Brannagan and Tyler Goodrham have also been in strong scoring form this season, netting seven times each, and the pair will continue in the starting XI for this clash.

As for Barnsley, Devante Cole has been the team’s main source of goals this term, finding the back of the net on 16 occasions in all competitions, and he is set to be partnered in attack by John McAtee.

The 24-year-old has nine goals to his name this term, so Oxford will be taking on a front two with 24 goals between them this season.

Head coach Collins is unlikely to make any changes from the clash with Carlisle last time out, with Herbie Kane, who has netted seven times from midfield this season, also featuring in the XI.

Oxford United possible starting lineup:
Cumming; Smyth, Moore, Brown; Stevens, McGuane, Goodrham, Bennett; Rodrigues, Harris, Brannagan

Barnsley possible starting lineup:
Roberts; Williams, De Gevigney, Shepherd; Connell; O’Keeffe, Phillips, Kane, Styles; McAtee, Cole

SM words green background

We say: Oxford United 1-1 Barnsley

This is a really tough match to call, and both managers would likely accept a point if it were offered ahead of kickoff. There will be a desire from both not to lose this game, which could make it a cagey affair, and we are expecting the points to be shared on Tuesday night.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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