IT’S hard to believe it’s more than six years since our last meeting with Barnsley.
And believe me, our defeat in the League I play-off semi-final still rankles!
We played really well at their place to gain a 1-0 advantage through Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
But it all went badly wrong back at ours, when they won 3-1 to book a final clash with Swansea at the Millennium Stadium.
I still think it should have been us that went through.
We should have been more than a goal to the good from the first leg.
Perhaps we were that little bit complacent in the second, but we still got it back to 2-2 on aggregate when Jon Worthington scored, and from there, we should have gone on to win, but ended up losing 3-1.
Barnsley went on to beat Swansea on penalties in the final, and they’ve been in the Championship ever since, something we need to emulate having finally got out of League I after so long trying.
It will be good to go back to Oakwell on Saturday, and there’s always an edge to games between their pair of us.
It’s seldom an easy ground to visit – the crowd are close up and it can be quite partisan – but we’ll take plenty of support over there, including all those doing the Walk For Pounds 2 to raise funds for the Keep It Up campaign.
Having done such a good job at Rochdale, Keith Hill has built a strong Barnsley side who are capable of beating anyone in the division on their day – but then so are we!
JORDAN RHODES will be back in town tomorrow – and I’m sure you’ll give him a great reception!
He deserves it in my opinion because he was a superb player for Huddersfield Town on the pitch and a fantastic ambassador off it.
You’d have to go a long way to meet a nicer bloke, and one who conducts himself so well, but when he gets out on the field, he’s still a ruthless finisher.
When Neil Warnock was managing Town, he used to get on at me to develop a nastier side to my nature, but Jordan proves you don’t have to be that way to succeed.
You seldom see him commit fouls or get booked, yet just look at his goalscoring record.
I played alongside a lot of different strikers, but Jordan has to be right up there in terms of his ability.
He has that priceless habit of being in the right place at the right time, and that’s not down to luck, because he works very hard on the training ground.
He’s also able to score with either foot and his head, and I see that at Blackburn so far, he’s often operated as a lone striker, which means he is developing another side to his game.
We were all disappointed to see him leave, especially for another club in our division, but it was a good deal for all parties, and we should also respect Jordan’s right to decide what was the correct move for him.
Plenty of people said he should have gone to the Premier League, but I don’t think a season in the Championship will do him any harm, because he will get regular football, which might not have been the case in the top flight.
It will be funny to see Jordan lining up against us, and now we have to work out a way of stopping him and the rest of what is a pretty strong Blackburn team.
Hopefully Simon Grayson will be able to use his first-hand knowledge of Jordan to put the brakes on him in what is a really big game.
Blackburn have picked up after an up-and-down start and their new manager Henning Berg will be looking for a strong beginning after his return to the club he served so well as a player.
But when Wolves came to out place, we showed we can cut against a team who were in the Premier last season, and I’m really looking forward to the match.
Like I said earlier, please give Jordan a great welcome back – then shout us on to what would be a fantastic victory!
WELL done to our two neighbours on making the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup.
I know there’s rivalry between ourselves, Leeds and Bradford.
But I like to see all three West Riding clubs doing well.
Bradford have had a tough time of it in the last few years, but they pulled off a great win at Wigan and were rewarded with a lucrative home quarter-final clash with Arsenal.
If that game is half as entertaining as the Gunners’ 7-5 clash with Reading than it will be well worth watching.
Meanwhile Leeds will host Chelsea after seeing off Southampton, and that’s a challenge Neil Warnock will relish!