Barnsley must defeat League Two Tranmere if they are to advance to the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in successive seasons for the first time since reaching back to back Quarter-Finals in 1997-1998 and 1998-1999.
It will be the first meeting between the Reds and the Birkenhead side in 15 years since both were League One sides in 2005-2006 and Barnsley did the double over Rovers on their way to winning promotion via the playoffs.
This will be the second ever FA Cup meeting between the sides having met in the fourth round back in January 1936 with second tier Barnsley winning 4-2 at Third Division North Tranmere. Barnsley went on to reach the Quarter-Finals that season for the first time since they won the competition in 1912 but were defeated 4-1 by Arsenal at Highbury who would go on to win the trophy by defeating Sheffield United 1-0 in the final at Wembley.
Barnsley and Tranmere have also met once in the League Cup with Rovers thumping the Reds 4-0 in the Fourth Round in November 1999 – a season when second tier Tranmere upset all the odds by reaching the final where they were defeated 2-1 by Leicester City.
Barnsley are undefeated in their last four meetings with Tranmere (W2 D2) and this match will see them come up against their ex manager Keith Hill who was appointed Rovers boss on the 22nd November. Hill spent just over a year in charge at Oakwell between June 2011 and December 2012, winning just 19 of 75 games in charge before being axed with the club bottom of the Championship.
Hill has eliminated Barnsley from a cup competition before as he was in charge of Rochdale when they won 1-0 at Oakwell in the first round of the League Cup in 2010-2011.
This will be Barnsley’s first home FA Cup tie in five, each of the last four v Portsmouth, Crewe, Burnley and Southend have all been away since a home 4-0 win over Notts County in the first round in November 2018. It is their first home Third Round tie since 2015 when they lost 2-0 to Middlesbrough.
Tranmere are looking to reach the Fourth Round for the second successive season, they reached that stage in 2019-2020 where they were thrashed 6-0 by Manchester United. Indeed Rovers have lost only three of their last 15 FA Cup matches (including replays) and conceded 18 goals in total in those three defeats (also losing 7-0 to Tottenham in the third round in 2018-2019 and 5-0 to Peterborough in 2017-2018 in a first round replay)
Last six Barnsley v Tranmere results
18/02/2006 Tranmere 0-1 Barnsley (Paul Heckingbottom 16) (League One)
06/12/2005 Barnsley (Martin Devaney 58, Marc Richards pen 77) 2-1 Tranmere (Delroy Facey 90) (League One)
26/12/2004 Tranmere (Iain Hume 73) 1-1 Barnsley (Anthony Kay 90) (League One)
11/09/2004 Barnsley 0-0 Tranmere (League One)
24/04/2004 Tranmere (Iain Hume 62, Ryan Taylor 88) 2-0 Barnsley (Division Two)
15/11/2003 Barnsley (Isaiah Rankin 23, Dean Gorre pen 64) 2-0 Tranmere (Division Two)