Connections between City and their weekend opponents

ALEX Neil is one of four significant player/managerial links between Norwich City and this weekend's hosts Barnsley.

While Neil was a combative midfielder for the South Yorkshire club and now manages the Canaries, Tykes boss Paul Heckingbottom played for Norwich during the 2002-03 season.

Both Mel Machin and Mark Robins did the same, featuring as players for City before respective spells in the hotseat at Oakwell.

Machin made 117 appearances for Norwich towards the end of his career, prior to joining the Club's coaching staff. He was Barnsley's manager for four years from 1989.

Robins joined City from Manchester United in 1992 and became part of one of their greatest teams, finishing third in the Premiership in his first season. The ex-striker was in charge of the Tykes between 2009 and 2011.

Barnsley was Neil's first English club when he moved south of the border from Scotland in 2000, and he went on to play 132 times for them before leaving for Mansfield Town in 2004.

In more recent years, a number of players have donned the colours of each club.

Midfielders David Fox and Korey Smith had short loan stints with Saturday's opponents, while Jacob Butterfield came through their Academy into the first-team before making the switch to the Canaries in 2012.

Butterfield didn't make a single league appearance for City, however, and was sold to Middlesbrough a year later. He played against Neil's men for Derby County last month.

Former City defender Jason Shackell had one season at Oakwell, captaining the team before attracting the interest of Derby, to whom he completed a transfer in 2011.

In the 1990s, strikers Mike Sheron and Ashley Ward represented both sides - things didn't really work out for Sheron at Carrow Road, but he was a consistent performer as a teammate of Neil's at Barnsley for four seasons.

The Tykes' long-serving goalkeeper and two-times Player of the Year Clive Baker was born in West Runton in north Norfolk, spending the early part of his career with City.

Mick McGuire, a midfielder for the Canaries in the 1970s and 80s, racking up nearly 200 appearances in the process, later went on to play for Barnsley.

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