At the time of writing the Reds are pushing through deals for Exeter left back Scott Golbourne and Leyton Orient captain Stephen Dawson – the latter commanding a 6-figure fee. Both will arrive in Barnsley from League 1, joining the likes of David Perkins, Jim McNulty, Scott Wiseman and Matt Done in the ‘League 1 crew’ of players currently at Oakwell. As these new personnel arrive, we ask if the lower leagues throw up lumps of coal, or rough diamonds?

Getting it right
What makes a good signing from a lower league? With League 1, not just the championship, now full of sleeping giants, Barnsley have often found themselves struggling to compete financially with opposition from even the top end of the lower division. In fact, all of the teams promoted from league 1 last season eventually finished higher than the Reds, just showing how competitive the game can be financially. This means that not only do Barnsley not always have access to the top players in our own division, but often have limited choice from the top end of League 1 also.

This of course means that Keith Hill has to search deeper within a division he has a lot of experience in, however, how can he guarantee that players from a struggling side in League 1 can make the step up to the championship? Of course the answer seems obvious - he can’t, but judging from the players brought in so far, Keith has a formula to polish players from the lower leagues and sell them on.

Proven track record
Of course Keith’s reputation for making penicillin from mouldy bread isn’t a newly acquired one. Many stars in the Championship and even Premiership have ‘HillCroft’ to thank for kick-starting their career, such as England Under 21 international Craig Dawson, Adam Le Fondre and Will Buckley amongst others, having been sold on for high prices having previously played under the former Rochdale manager.

Of course this does kick up the problem that Hill has a reputation for SELLING players having improved them, obviously buying having been a part of what brought players into the club in the first place, however do Barnsley fans feel this is a stripping of our assets? Has Barnsley always been a selling club? Can the squad truly settle with constant ins and outs?

One in, one out
Whilst the Reds are set to bring in 2 more players before the transfer window closes, taking the tally to 5, they are also subject to a series of bids for Ricardo Vaz Te from championship high flyers West Ham. The Hammers have had a bid in the region of 750k rejected, and are set to up their bid to £1.5 million. Should the Reds accept the bid, they will have effectively lost 3 players, with Butterfield’s injury effectively a loss of a player, and the departure of Drinkwater and possibly Vaz Te, not to mention the fact that Nathan Doyle has been asked to find himself a new club.

For me, this is only a slight issue, however losing a player at this late stage could be deemed as rather annoying, given that clubs interested have had 31 days to table any offer, yet choose to act in the final 48 hours. Although this does in fact speak further volumes for Hill’s transfer policy. Prior to us taking Vaz Te in, no clubs were interested; now that he’s become our top scorer, the Reds could cash in and make a tidy profit.

Earning the shirt
To credit Keith Hill further, the signings he has made thus far have certainly took little or no time to adjust to the Championship, easily keeping the likes of Nathan Doyle and Danny Haynes out of the side, who have since moved on or are about to move on. With the impending signing of Golbourne, could Jay McEvely be the latest to find himself out of the side to a former league 1 player? Without criticizing Jay, there are clearly no guarantees as to whether or not he will be dropped; however this certainly brings more competition to the side.

Wages of course all add to the transfer policy, with strict break even rules set to be enforced by the football league in the next few years, can or should a club like ours pay wages to former premier league players filtering their way down the leagues, or is it best to get players from the lower leagues hungry to impress, at a fraction of the cost?

A new looking side
Whatever happens over the course of the next few months, Keith Hill will have again transformed a Barnsley side in an effort to maintain the momentum and challenge for a decent top half finish. With lower league players being added to seasoned pro’s such as Tonge and Smith, I believe that Barnsley fans could be set for an exciting second half to the season, given that not only will the Reds have a hungry side eager to impress, but the necessary experience to help these League 1 starlets hit the ground running. Will losing Butterfield, Drinwater and possibly Vaz Te derail our season? Last week the answer would have perhaps been yes, but now I have a cautious optimism that we can at least beat our previous points tallies since our return to the division, and perhaps even get beyond the 60 point mark, surely a remarkable achievement on such a tight budget?

Agree, disagree? Have your say on the brand new forum, and don’t forget to follow me @MichaelRoach55 and @OnThePontyEnd on Twitter.
Enhanced by Zemanta
Share To:


Post A Comment:

1 comment so far add yours

Anonymous said...

If Barnsley sign Stephen Dawson he will be a good addition to the team. He is very popular with the O's fans and will be in Yorkshire. He was the O's captain because he always gives 100%, never stops running and has a never say die attitude. He has a tremendous engine and gets up and down the pitch. The fans at Oakwell will love him and he will be missed at the Matchroom Stadium.