Barnet travel to Rotherham United on the back of a good 2-0 home win over Bradford City last weekend and having taken 10 points from the last 5 matches, the only defeat coming at home to Aldershot on New Year’s Day under controversial circumstances.
Rotherham are having an excellent season and are currently placed third in the League Two table and are clearly real challengers for promotion either automatically or via the play offs, but Barnet have shown that they can get good results playing against the top sides as when beating Gillingham recently at the Priestfield Stadium.
The Bees have already been busy in this January transfer window and have signed young CrystalPalace striker, Ibra Sekajja on a one month’s loan to bolster the Bees’ attacking options. He joins recent loan signings, Taiwo Atieno, who was with Torquay United last season and who scored the opening goal against Bradford City last Saturday on his full debut and Watford defender, Adam Thompson who came on as a substitute in the same match. Unfortunately, Thompson has been reported a shaving dislocated and fractured his shoulder in training and may need an operation which may preclude the young defender from any further action during his loan spell at Underhill.
Sekajja scored on his debut for CrystalPalace in April 2011. His 88th minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw secured Palace’s championship status. Sekajja has made 3 first team appearances for the Eagles and has also been out on loan to KetteringTown and, earlier this season, to MK Dons where he made just one appearance as a substitute.
Meanwhile, Stevenage centre back, Andy Iro has had his loan deal extended until 9th February. Iro has made 5 appearances for the Bees so far and scored 1 goal, the equaliser at ExeterCity. Iro came into the side following Krystian Pearce’s return to NottsCounty after his own loan deal expired before Christmas.
Iro has struck up a good partnership with David Stephens in the centre of the Bees’ defence, but Barnet are looking a bit thin on the ground at the moment as far as this position is concerned following the departure of Jon Fortune and the announcement today that Jack Saville has gone on loan for a month to Ebbsfleet United of the Blue Square Premier, a club managed by former Bee, Liam Daish. Saville, who joined from Southampton last season after initially been on loan, has made 29 first team appearances for the Bees, scoring 1 goal and was in the side that won at Burton Albion last may to secure Barnet’s league status. However, the former Chelsea defender has not featured in the league for Barnet since September and the opportunity of first team football at Ebbsfleet could be just the thing Saville needs to enable him to fight for his first team place on his return.
However, with young defender, George McCluskey on loan at Hayes & Yeading, Barnet’s only other options for the centre of defence would seem to be Clovis Kamdjo who has, of course, largely featured this season in midfield. Other than Kamdjo, there is just youngster Michael Thomas.
Saville joins a number of Barnet players currently on loan including goalkeeper, Liam O’Brien, currently at Hastings, Mauro Vilhete, at Borehamwood and Jamal Lowe who is on loan, with McCluskey, at Hayes & Yeading. Lowe has scored 3 goals in 2 substitute appearances for the Blue Square South side, including two goals at Dorchester to give Hayes a 2-2 draw after Dorchester had lead 2-0.
Apart from long term injuries to Steve Kabba, Collins John and Ishmail Kamara, Barnet do not seem to have any injury problems, young loanee, Adam Thompson aside, and Edgar Davids could return to the starting line up tomorrow with new signing, Ibra Sekajja expected to feature at some point. His arrival, and that of Atieno, has, at last, given Barnet some options up front apart from just playing leading scorer, Jake Hyde alone up front.
Barnet face a tough game at Rotherham who are the current in form team in League Two having taken 28 points since the arrival at Barnet of Edgar Davids. However, the Bees themselves have done well during this period having taken 23 points from the last 15 matches. Indeed had the season started after the 4-1 home defeat by Plymouth in October, Barnet would currently be 3rd in the table!!!