Speaking to today's YEP, Patrick Cryne says Barnsley are entering 2009 looking up the table and not down.

The Tykes are now 6-1 to be relegated but the Barnsley chief won't be having a bet!

Barnsley were written off as relegation certainties following just one league success from their opening nine games.

Three wins in October, instigated by a 4-1 victory against Doncaster, transformed their season and Simon Davey's side finished 2008 with a bang with seven points from their last three games.

At one point long odds-on favourites for relegation, the Tykes now enter 2009 eight points clear of the Championship drop zone.

As far as Cryne is concerned, Barnsley's progress won't be ending there.

"I think we can move on and we want to get into the top half this season," he said.

"If we get into that top half we can say it has been a good season by the standards we set ourselves, which is year-on-year improvement.

"We want to finish higher in the league than we did last season and, ideally, for us to say that we have made decent progress we want to be in the middle of the table by the end of the season.

"If you then look at the squad that we have got, a lot of them are under contract for next season and we have signed a number of key players for the future, people like Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Martin Devaney and (Stephen) Foster.

"The tragedy to the season was losing Iain Hume and under those circumstances.

"That was disappointing but to be in mid-table without him I think bodes very well for us."

Still recovering from his fractured skull, striker Hume hopes to be back training by the end of February and in the weeks following his injury the Tykes struggled badly for goals.

Loan star Jamie Cureton is doing his bit to solve that problem, netting twice in his last two league games, but whether Cureton is the cure or not, Cryne is adamant Barnsley need more firepower, especially in Hume's absence.

"Our target has to be to find a striker to replace Iain Hume for the rest of the season and to increase the number of goals," said Cryne.

"We are creating plenty of opportunities but we are not always converting them. we have got good strikers but not the predators that you really need to score lots of goals.

"The sides that get promoted are the sides that score lots of goals.
"Defensively I think we are very sound, our midfield is strong, or stronger than it has been so the priority has to be to find a striker.

"We've got the wingers and Martin (Devaney) should be back in the new year."

Cryne revealed that the aim would be to snap up a striker on a permanent basis and not just on a loan deal.

"That's what you need, you need to find someone who is committed to your cause," said the owner.

"Not that loaned players aren't – they are committed because they are making careers for themselves – but you need to build with people on your books who are not going to leave you at the end of the year."

Leaving is the last thing on Cryne's mind – the Tykes owner is Barnsley born and bred, Cryne's official involvement with the club was initiated in June 2001 when his iSOFT company was unveiled as sponsors.

Cryne was to become the eventual owner and says he revels in watching his side without being under too much pressure.

"I love Barnsley Football Club," he said. "I love watching and I don't get too involved with the day-to-day management which is where a lot of the irritation and aggravation comes from.

"I have the luxury of just being able to turn up and watch a game and I like what I have seen."

Cryne is now convinced that better times are just around the corner in 2009 and under no circumstances does he believe that Barnsley will go down.

With the injury to Hume, the Brian Howard transfer saga and the clearance row over Hugo Colace, the Tykes have experienced something of a roller coaster ride with the season only half done.

Cryne admits that a period of smooth sailing would now be preferred to help to propel Barnsley up the league.

He said: "I think we'll be stronger in the second half of the season as we started poorly.

"We were missing Hugo Colace for a month and when he came in that really helped the midfield.

"I think it is possible to identify a couple of things that turned our season and I feel that was finally moving Brian Howard on as after that we started to get the results.

"I'm confident that we will get better and achieve better things."
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Ian Wilkinson

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