Tykes boss Simon Davey appeared more chipper than most given that his side were sat at the foot of the Championship – convinced that the re-appearance of two of his FA Cup heroes after long-time injury lay-offs could be just the pick-me-up Barnsley need ahead of entertaining the Canaries tomorrow.
City boss Glenn Roeder was already marking everyone's card that this weekend's trip to Oakwell was one that came with warning bells attached; that the Yorkshire side were only losing games by the odd goal here and there.
No-one was smashing them; they were pretty much the same squad that pulled off one of the results of the season with that FA Cup fifth round win at Liverpool. Before, of course, adding the scalp of some team called Chelsea back on their own patch. 'Don't be fooled…' was Roeder's blunt warning.
And while a 0-0 draw away at Southampton in their last outing shouldn't exactly terrify, it was said Davey an important result as he welcomed back both keeper Heinz Muller and midfielder Anderson de Silva back to the Championship fold courtesy of their first appearances of the season.
Sidelined for seven months following knee surgery, both are expected to feature again tomorrow.
“Anderson played 70 minutes in the reserves and then had 75 minutes last week. He's been fine,” the Barnsley boss told the Sheffield Star today.
“When he was injured last season he'd just come to us and it was a nightmare. Having him back now is massive for us.”
At 6ft 2in tall, he also promises to be a massive presence in that Tykes midfield after the 26-year-old Brazilian proved one of the stars of the show at Anfield.
Davey has clearly been keeping tabs on Norwich's progress of late as the Canaries haul themselves into the top half of the table for what feels like the first time in recent living memory.
“Norwich are a good footballing side,” said Davey. “They've added quality by getting Antoine Sibierski and made a good acquisition in Wes Hoolahan, but this is a game that we're looking to win.”
Halting the slide at St Mary's was important, he said. The last home game ended in a 1-0 defeat by Cardiff; that needed to change. As would Barnsley's approach to this game after being confronted by a tactical minefield at Southampton.
“Every game is different,” said Davey. “Some teams play with power and pace, some like Norwich like to play their passing football. Sometimes you have to play against a system like we did at Southampton. We got a clean sheet there and that is a platform to build on.”
The other name to cross Roeder's lips this morning was that of ex-Leicester striker Iain Hume who arrived for ?1 million in the summer – a move funded, in part, by all those FA Cup fun and games last season.
He is the Tykes leading goal-scorer this season with two. One less than Norwich's own master marksman Arturo Lupoli on all of three.
Guilty of missing a sitter at St Mary's, Davey was at pains to stress that he will be keeping faith in his summer transfer coup.
“I've got faith in Iain,” said the Tykes chief. “He's the only striker we have who's scored. And the one he missed last Saturday was a freak.
“He's got two for us, if he'd scored again everyone would have said that's fantastic.”
Like Norwich, it is taking chances that wins matches. Something that Barnsley have failed to do. It may yet prompt Davey to turn to the much-travelled Jon Macken – at the expense of the towering striker who downed Chelsea at Oakwell last season, Kayode Odejayi.
“At the end of the day we haven't scored enough goals. Our goals against isn't too bad but scoring goals is an issue we have to address. If that means a change in the 11 or formation, we'll have to decide,” Davey told the Star, insisting that all was well within his camp; that appearances can be deceptive; that a club's actual league position doesn't always tell the whole story.
“The players have been bubbly and enthusiastic in training and will be ready to go out to try to get us the three points we need.”