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Yeovil Town are back in SkyBet Championship action this Saturday as #MissionSurvival returns to Huish Park for what Gary Johnson describes as a game ‘as big as the play-offs’ from last season.
Yeovil sit in 22nd place, but are only off the bottom on goal difference, as Millwall (24th) and Saturday’s opponents, Barnsley (23rd) all sit together on 32 points.
It would be easy to roll out clichés about ‘six-pointers’ but it’s fair to say that with Charlton above the drop zone on 35 points, either side could claw themselves out of the drop zone with a win over their relegation rivals.
Yeovil are coming into the game off the back of a massive point away at champions elect, Leicester.
The 1-1 will be looked back on as undoubted highlight of the season, even if there is a bitter taste of ‘what might have been’ following Chris Wood’s 92nd minute equaliser for the Foxes.
But, it’s important to focus on the positives and the defensive performance of the back five and the quality of Joe Ralls’ goal should all be on this season’s highlights reel.
Barnsley also got themselves a big result in midweek, a 3-1 win away at Reading.
The difference here is just how much of a shock that result was compared to Yeovil’s.
Prior to Tuesday the Tykes had lost their last three in a row and had come away with nothing in four out of their last five games, scoring a grand total of 1 goal in those five fixtures.
Danny Wilson’s men have conceded the second highest number of goals this season having let 64 goals in so far this campaign. (Millwall have conceded 67)
The Glovers’ form makes much better reading, they’ve lost just twice in their last 10 fixtures, twice at home all calendar year (vs Leeds and Ipswich) and secured draws away at promotion chasers Wigan, Leicester and Reading in the process.
Barnsley front man Chris O’Grady is their top scorer with 11 goals this term, but he hasn’t scored since a 2-2 draw with Ipswich last month, a run of nine games.
Compare that with Yeovil’s Ishmael Miller; the Glovers front man is also into double figures for the season, but his form in recent games includes a brace against Wigan and another goal against Bolton.
There are some contrasting injury news for both sides too; Barnsley have lost one of their stalwarts this season, Jim O’Brien has had knee surgery and will have to sit out the rest of the campaign.
Elsewhere, Peter Ramage and former Glover Martin Cranie have both had injury issues over recent weeks, however Ramage has since returned to the squad.
Their only positive is that Kelvin Etuhu made his first Tykes appearance since just after Christmas in the win over Reading.
For Yeovil, there was a welcome return to the squad for Liam Davis on Tuesday; Davis has spent a long time on the side lines with a toe problem.
Joel Grant missed out in midweek; the winger was brought back into the squad following injury at Wigan, but hasn’t played since to ensure his recovery is complete.
Elsewhere, it’s a near complete squad for Gary Johnson with only Reuben Palazuelos giving the physios any overtime.
There will be two players who will know an awful lot about each other on Saturday.
Brothers Kevin and Stephen Dawson will line up at opposite ends of the ground, Kevin in green and white and Stephen in the red of the visitors.
With Mothers’ Day on Sunday and two brothers coming head to head 24 hours earlier, Sunday dinner at the Dawson household could be an interesting time for whichever one comes out on top.
The meeting between the two sides this season back in December ended in a 1-1 draw.
Thomas Cywka tumbled over in the box somewhat theatrically to earn the Tykes a spot kick and Marcus Tudgay duly obliged from the spot.
That controversy cancelled out Joel Grant’s tenth minute opener. A 1-1 draw on Saturday would probably suit neither side.
Prior to this season; the Glovers are winning the head to heads in recent action 2-1.
Two home wins in 2005 and 2008 for Yeovil, one a league fixture, the other a pre-season friendly.
Elsewhere, all the bottom seven sides are in action on Saturday.
Bottom side Millwall host Blackburn, Charlton travel to Derby, Doncaster have a local derby against Leeds, Birmingham meet Bournemouth and Blackpool are in London for a meeting with QPR. But it’s all eyes on Huish Park this Saturday.
Tickets are available for the huge game right up until kick off, but with Gary Johnson’s rally cry to supporters, it’s advised to get to the ground in plenty of time or purchase online or over the phone in advance. Wear your green and white, wave your scarves, fly your flags and bring a mate.
Huish Park needs to be packed to the rafters this weekend and every game this season as #MissionSurvival takes its challenge into the final weeks.
If you can’t be at the ground this Sunday, stay tuned to all the usual outlets and keep in touch with the biggest game of the season so far.
Cricket Umpire Dickie Bird, Bowler Darren Gough and TV Interviewer extraordinaire Michael Parkinson.
A foot in both camps.
Martin Cranie, Kevin Betsy, Arron Davies, Rory Fallon, Ritchie Jones, Michael McIndoe, Craig Rocastle, Korey Smith and Lewin Nyatanga was all set to sign for Yeovil during pre-season before being lured north to Barnsley.