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Barnsley still fighting, but lacking Championship smarts - Interview
Thursday, 12th Mar 2020 14:30 by Clive Whittingham

Thanks to the guys at the Reds Report podcast for their input on Saturday's opponents Barnsley who won three in a row through february but have regressed since and just seem to lack that little bit of Championship nouse following promotion.

Why have Barnsley struggled so much on return to the Championship?

Many Barnsley fans will tell you that it is not only the lack of experience in this young side but also the inability to bounce back from a defeat. After winning three in a row with three clean sheets during February we've lost two without scoring against Reading and Cardiff and both displays were very much below par.

You looked dead and buried when the change of manager came, but there has been a rally of sorts since then, so what has Gerhard Struber changed?

Besides the formation, the new gaffer seems to be able to get the best out of the players available. Unsure if it is a worry or revelation but quite a few players are playing out of their natural positions but it has to be said that that the football at times is wonderful to watch. There are worse teams than us they just know how to win ugly or draw a match

Barnsley league results so far…
Barnsley 1-0 Fulham Thomas 13
Sheff Wed 2-0 Barnsley Murphy 2, Fletcher 60
Barnsley 2-2 Charlton Woodrow 34, Chaplin 48 – Gallagher 80, Taylor pen 89
Birmingham 2-0 Barnsley Jutkiewicz 69, Alvaro 77
Barnsley 1-3 Luton Wilks 72 – Butterfield 2, Collins 4, Cornick 31
Wigan 0-0 Barnsley
Barnsley 0-2 Leeds Nketiah 84, Klich pen 89
Forest 1-0 Barnsley Watson 56
Barnsley 1-3 Brentford Woodrow 1 – Watkins 35, 46, 68
Barnsley 2-2 Derby Halme 13, Woodrow 90 – Martin 34, Huddlestone pen 43
Preston 5-1 Barnsley Johnson 31, 61, Barkhuizen 50, Pearson 63, Harrop 77 – McGeehan 43
Barnsley 1-1 Swansea Mowatt 70 – Ayew 67
West Brom 2-2 Barnsley Diaby og 68, Pereira 81 – Woodrow 18, 24
Huddersfield 2-1 Barnsley Schindler 30, Grant 53 – Brown 79
Barnsley 2-2 Bristol City Halme 77, Woodrow 90 – Williams 43, Weimann 71
Barnsley 2-4 Stoke McGeehan 42, Schmidt 82 – Clucas 8, 67, Gregory pen 30, Allen 64
Blackburn 3-2 Barnsley Dack 24, 86, Downing 69 – Chaplin 48, Woodrow 82
Middlesbrough 1-0 Barnsley Fletcher 54
Barnsley 3-1 Hull Mowatt 23, Bahre 75, Chaplin 90 – Lewis-Potter 81
Cardiff 3-2 Barnsley Flint 20, Ward 68, Tomlin 90 – Chaplin 17, Peltier og 48
Barnsley 1-1 Reading Woodrow 58 – Joao 76
Barnsley 5-3 QPR Chaplin 7, 18, 52, Woodrow pen 60, Diaby 82 – Amos 12, 54, Chair 90
Millwall 1-2 Barnsley O’Brien 83 – Chaplin 39, Schmidt 90
Barnsley 1-1 West Brom Halme 90 – Krovinovic 5
Swansea 0-0 Barnsley
Derby 2-1 Barnsley Marriott 45, Waghorn 57 – Simoes 50
Barnsley 2-1 Huddersfield Mowatt 14, Chaplin 65 – O’Brien 66
Bristol City 1-0 Barnsley Eliasson 87
Barnsley 0-3 Preston Barkhuizen 19, 45, Johnson 34
Charlton 2-1 Barnsley Taylor 9, Green 45 – Woodrow 71
Barnsley 1-1 Sheff Wed Woodrow 24 – Windass 16
Barnsley 0-1 Birmingham Hogan 76
Fulham 0-3 Barnsley Woodrow pen 24, 79, Brown 51
Barnsley 1-0 Middlesbrough Chaplin 73
Hull 0-1 Barnsley Woodrow 42
Reading 2-0 Barnsley Meite 17, Puskas 60
Barnsley 0-2 Cardiff Vaulks 65, Paterson 66

Would you keep him on for next season, even if you go down?

I think for the board’s "vision" of longevity you have to stick with him but at the same time support him in providing a better mix of experience / youth.

Three wins in a row through February, including that shock 3-0 at Fulham, but now two defeats without scoring, why has that momentum faded? How are you playing coming into this week’s game?

The general feeling is that this group of young lads perhaps mentally struggle with getting over these defeats and below par displays.

Player of the season candidates?

Cauley Woodrow provides goals when most needed. Connor Chaplin, fox in the box, who scored a hat trick in the first game between us this season. Alex Mowatt, captain who leads from the front ( well, midfield) but has shown good quality. All three have a never say die attitude.

Summer Ins: Luke Thomas, 20, RW, Derby, £1.2m >>> Patrick Schmidt, 21, CF, Admira Wacker, £1m >>> Malik Wilks, 20, LW, Leeds, £900k >>> Mads Juel Anderson, 21, CB, Horsens (Denmark), £900k >>> Aapo Halme, 21, CB, Leeds, £200k >>> Toby Sibbick, 20, RB, Wimbledon, £200k >>> Mike Bahre, 23, AM, Hannover, £135k >>> Brad Collins, 22, GK, Chelsea, Free >>> Samuel Sahin-Radlinger, 26, GK, Hannover, Free >>> Conor Chaplin, 22, CF, Coventry, Undisclosed >>> Bambo Diaby, 21, CB, Lokeren (Belgium), Undisclosed >>> Clarke Oduor, 20, LB, Leeds, Undisclosed

Summer Outs: Ethan Pinnock, 26, CB, Brentford, £3m >>> Kieffer Moore, 26, CF, Wigan, £2.6m >>> Liam Lindsay, 23, CB, Stoke, £2m >>> Adam Davies, 26, GK, Stoke, Free >>> Victor Adeboyego, 21, CF, Bristol Rovers, Loan >>> Ryan Hedges 23, RW, Aberdeen, Free >>> Adam Jackson, 25, CB, Hibs, Free >>> Zeki Fryers, 26, LB, Swindon, Free >>> Lloyd Isgrove, 26, LW, Released >>> George Miller, 21, CF, Scunthorpe, Loan

Winter Ins: >>> Michael Sollbauer, 29, CB, Wolfsberger (Austria), £450k (joint fee) >>> Marcel Ritzmaier, 26, CM, Wolfsberger, £450k (joint fee) >>> Kilian Ludewig, 19, RB, RB Salzburg, Loan

Winter Outs: >>> Dimityri Cavare, 25, RB, Sion, Undisclosed >>> Dylan Mottley Henry, 22, RW, Bradford, Free >>> Victor Adeboyejo, 21, CF, Bristol Rovers, Loan >>> Cameron McGeehan, 24, CM, Portsmouth, Loan >>> Malik Wilks, 21, LW, Hull, Loan >>> Jordan Green, 24, RW, Newport, Loan >>> Toby Sibbick, 20, RB, Hearts, Loan

Weak links in the side?

No specific players, just probably the mentality and lack of Championship experience. Individual mistakes in the defence seemed to subside after giving Mads Anderson a rest. There's no doubt he plays to the best of his ability, but these little mistakes are instantly punished in a division like this.

Tough fixtures to come, particularly the last three. Presumably the Stoke, Luton and Wigan fixtures are the ones you’re hanging it all on?

Yes, the most crucial 3 matches in the remainder of the season. Wigan seem to have gone on a little run, Middlesborough are struggling as are Luton(and us). taking points directly of those teams around us is key but we are still hopeful that others will slip up. ( who knows, a 12 point deduction for our Sheffield Neighbours could prove to be interesting in the relegation battle)

Barnsley’s remaining league games…
Mar 14 QPR A
Mar 17 Millwall H
Mar 21 Blackburn H
Apr 4 Stoke A
Apr 10 Luton A
Apr 13 Wigan H
Apr 18 Leeds A
Apr 25 Forest H
May 2 Brentford A

Do you think you’ll stay up, and what will be the consequences if you don’t? Is the club positioned to bounce straight back again?

The table doesn't lie. Good football does not guarantee you points. We tend to play better against footballing sides with a similar philosophy. Against the more physical "hoof the ball" teams such as Birmingham, Wednesday we have struggled. The board’s long term plan of developing young talented players from the lower leagues and selling them on with a profit sounds really good but the Championship is a tough league. Looking at the sides in the top half of the table there is a wealth of experience and youth. The philosophy might work on a profit and loss sheet but it certainly has not proven to work in the league. Whilst we hold the record of the club who's spent most of their time in the second tier with parachute payments to Premier League clubs who are now playing in this division it will take more than just a team of young hungry players to make our mark in this division. The worry would be that we end up like teams like Sunderland and are unable to get out of League 1. Without Woodrow, Mowatt, Chaplin we would struggle in League 1. Whilst they might be able to be sold for a profit, on the pitch their character and experience is priceless.

Links >>> Barnsley Official Website >>> Yorkshire Post – Local Press >>> Sheffield Star – Local Press >>> BBS Fan Forum – Message Board >>> Reds Report – Podcast

The Twitter @RedsReport_, @loftforwords

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