Scout report: Why Sunderland must be wary Â£1million striker and creative force when Barnsley come to town
Sunderland welcome promotion rivals Barnsley to the Stadium of Light this evening - but what should they expect?
The visit of the Tykes will prove a real test of the Black Cats' promotion credentials as they prepare to face a side heavily-tipped for a return to the Championship this season.
Despite the sides having met as recently as January, both clubs have gone through exceptional change since that clash on Wearside.
So what should Jack Ross expect from Barnsley this evening?
Here's everything you need to know about Sunderland's promotion rivals:
What system will Barnsley play?
Barnsley tend to operate in a 4-4-2 formation, providing plenty of stability and width, but have been known to mix things up dependent on the opposition.
With some real attacking assets, the system allows the Tykes to pour forward in numbers while ensuring they are not caught short defensively.
A blend of youth and experience sees the South Yorkshire well-disciplined but packed with plenty of flair.
Who are Barnsley's key players?
Striker Kieffer Moore is arguably the Tykes' biggest goal threat - and was the subject of seven-figure bids over the summer months.
The 26-year-old has netted ten times in 18 appearances this season and is a constant threat - meaning Sunderland must watch him carefully.
Behind him, former Newcastle United academy player Brad Potts has caught the eye, and is more than capable of chipping in with a few goals himself as well as providing plenty of ammunition for Moore.
The midfielder spent time at St James's Park as a youngster before featuring for Carlisle and Blackpool, impressing on his way up the footballing pyramid.
Fulham loanee Cauley Woodrow provides another good attacking option while youngster Ethan Pinnock has starred at the back.
Watch out too for George Moncur - the son of former West Ham United and Tottenham midfielder John Moncur.
Do Barnsley have any injury worries?
The Tykes have been dealt one blow in the build-up to the clash, with midfielder Ryan Hedges set to miss out.
A broken toe will see the creative player sidelined for the next four weeks.
Other than Hedges, Daniel Stendel has no fresh concerns ahead of the trip to Wearside.
Who is Barnsley's manager and what can we expect from them?
German Daniel Stendel is the man in charge at Oakwell having taking the reigns at the club in 2018.
The 44-year-old enjoyed a stellar career in the German top flight before taking his first steps into management with Hannover 96 in 2016, where he was sacked a year later.
He has flourished in South Yorkshire, though, with his attacking brand of football resonating with the fans.
What form have Barnsley been in?
Barnsley come to the Stadium of Light in a stellar run of form, having gone seven games unbeaten in all competitions.
The Tykes have lost just three times in League One all season and have picked up some eye-catching results of late.
Peteborough and Accrington, both vying for promotion, were comfortably dismissed in what should serve as a warning to the Black Cats.
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