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Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom was born in Barnsley, made 53 appearances for the Tykes as a player and started his coaching career at the club – spending 20 months as permanent boss and winning promotion from League One in 2016.
The Blades are unbeaten on home turf since the 44-year-old was appointed in November, taking 20 points from a possible 24 at Bramall Lane and keeping six clean sheets from those eight games.
Meanwhile, only West Bromwich Albion have conceded fewer goals at home in the Championship this season (12) than Sheffield United (13).
However, the Blades are currently going through their worst spell of form under Heckingbottom, having won just one of their last five matches.
They were left frustrated in midweek as they were held to a 0-0 draw away at Blackpool, with Sander Berge and Oliver Norwood both having goals ruled out for offside.
Sheffield United continue to battle a severe injury crisis, with Paul Heckingbottom only able to name one senior outfield player on the bench against Blackpool in midweek.
The Tykes, who are the Championship’s lowest scorers, are unbeaten in three matches; that is their longest run without defeat so far this season.
However, they have picked up just one win and seven points away from home this season and have lost 13 of their last 15 games on the road in all competitions.
Moreover, Barnsley have only won one of their last six meetings with Sheffield United; Lys Mousset scored twice as the Blades triumphed 3-2 in this season’s reverse fixture at Oakwell.
John Fleck and Oli McBurnie are the only members of the walking wounded who have a chance of returning for this weekend’s game.
Billy Sharp has not found the net in his last two appearances; the Blades skipper has not gone three matches without a goal since November.
Barnsley striker Carlton Morris was forced off injured after scoring against Bristol City on Tuesday, but he will train on Friday and the Tykes hope to have him available.
If he is not passed fit, Devante Cole or Aaron Leya Iseka will be Poya Asbaghi’s options to fulfil the lone striker role
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Cauley Woodrow (knee) and Victor Adeboyejo (cheekbone) remain sidelined, but there is no injury issue with Josh Benson, who was absent from the matchday squad in midweek.
Sheffield United possible starting lineup:
Foderingham; Robinson, Egan, Gordon; Osborn, Berge, Norwood, Norrington-Davies; Gibbs-White, Ndiaye; Sharp
Barnsley possible starting lineup:
Collins; Brittain, Helik, Andersen, Vita; Wolfe, Gomes; Styles, Bassi, Quina; Morris