Oldham Athletic manager Lee Johnson was in the stand watching Barnsley last night as they hung on to beat Scunthorpe despite having Jean-Yves M’voto sent off shortly after half-time.
Johnson has been the odds-on favourite to take over from Danny Wilson since last week when Reds chiefs sought permission from Oldham to speak to him.
Whether he does eventually take over at Oakwell still remains to be seen, but his appearance at Glanford Park will certainly further fuel the intense recent speculation.
For what turned out to be the Reds’ first away win since November, caretaker management pair Mark Burton and Paul Heckingbottom had made a couple of team changes following the weekend success against Crewe.
Blackburn loanee John O’Sullivan was drafted in to make his maiden Football League start in an attacking midfield role, while fellow youngster George Waring was restored up front.
Just as on Saturday, the first half was a largely dismal affair. Both sides struggled to create clear-cut opportunities, though it was the Reds who went closest to breaking the deadlock as they went in search of a first league win at Scunthorpe since way back in 1978.
Conor Hourihane was unlucky as he saw a curling free-kick from 20 yards graze the outside of a post.
Earlier Paddy Madden forced Reds’ ‘keeper Adam Davies into a neat stop, while the same player lashed disappointingly into the side-netting 10 minutes later.
Davies was called upon again to keep out defender Andrew Boyce’s header, before the Reds bossed matters leading up to the interval.
Hourihane saw a shot saved by Luke Daniels, while the home ‘keeper was then alert as he smothered a weak effort from Waring.
There was an explosive start to the second half.
The Reds went in front after 51 minutes, with Josh Scowen pouncing on a Jordan Clark error before tucking past Daniels from a tight angle.
However, just minutes later the visitors were reduced to 10 men when M’voto earned a second yellow card of the night following a crude challenge on Tom Hopper.
The Reds now faced a real battle to hang on to their slender lead for more than half-an-hour.
They did just that, largely thanks to ‘keeper Davies, who saved superbly from Boyce and then Madden in the closing stages as the Reds went on to leapfrog the Iron in the League One table.
Scunthorpe: Daniels, Clarke, Boyce, Canavan, Williams (Nolan , 42), Bishop, Osbourne (McSheffrey, 64), Madden, O’Neil (Evans, 73), Hopper, van Veen. Not used: Anyon, Adelakun, Wootton, Llera.
Barnsley: Davies, Cranie, M’voto, Nyatanga, Smith, Scowen, Hourihane (Berry, 90), Pearson, Bailey, O’Sullivan (Holgate, 59), Waring (Oates, 90). Not used: Dibble, Lita, Hemmings, Lalkovic.
Red cards: M’voto (56).