The Opposition View: Barnsley

Last updated : 17 February 2011 By Jim Bonner

Craig Smith gives Pompey fans the low-down on Barnsley ahead of Saturday's match.

Are you happy with Barnsley's business in the January transfer window? How big is the loss of Adam Hamill to the team?

Yes. The loss of Hammill was inevitable and we've definitely lost a little creative spark down the flanks now he's gone.

On the bright side, the youngsters Jacob Mellis and Frank Nouble who've come in on loan are doing a good job of filling the void left by Hammill in terms of creativity. Meliis in particular looks a real talent.

Danny Haynes also deserves a mention, it looks like we may have gotten ourselves a regular goalscoring forward at Oakwell for the first time since Michael Chopra was here on loan.

Carl Dickinson seemed to be well liked amongst Tykes fans when he had a loan spell with you. Why?

Dickinson was well liked at Oakwell due to his work rate more than anything else. As I'm sure Pompey fans have gathered he's not the most technically gifted player.

But he's a battler and that's something our fans have always appreciated in a player. He was always 100% commited to the cause while he was here.

With Hamill gone, who are the key players in your team now?

The aforementioned Mellis, Haynes and Nouble are all important in terms of attack, while Jason Shackell and Bobby Hassell command the defence well.

Is Luke Steele still the biggest weakness in your team or has he improved as the season has gone on? If so, what are the biggest weaknesses in your team now?

Steele has been great the last few months, almost single-handedly keeping us in more than one game. He's always been a promising keeper but was a little too prone to mistakes for my liking, a part of his game he seems to have worked hard on in recent months and it's paying off. At this moment in time there are few keepers in this division I'd rather have between our sticks.

To be honest at this moment I can't really pinpoint a major weakness in our team, though the loss of Hammill has certainly weakened the team to an extent. I would say squad depth is my biggest concern at the moment.

Do you think Barnsley could still be dragged into a relegation battle?

I'm not worried about that at all to be honest. They've been playing some of the best football at Oakwell since we got promoted this season. Away form is a concern, but I think we'll safely reach the 50 point mark pretty soon and for me that's the safety point.

What sort of match are you expecting? Are you hopeful of winning at
Fratton Park given that Pompey haven't won at home since October 30th?

As I've said our away form is woeful. I'm not too confident about Saturday but I am hopeful of a draw and I think a point at Fratton Park given our dire away performances would be a pleasing result.

Predict the outcome of the game.

I hate to say it but it'll probably be a bore draw, either that or Pompey hammer us. I'll go for 1-1.