It appears that Hemmings is struggling to settle at the club and the manager’s lack of confidence in his abilities certainly does not seem to be helping matters either.

Barnsley have been going through a very rough patch since September. The team had managed just two wins, against Rochdale and Bradford City, during this period. Just when it appeared that a 3-1 win over Bradford would put the team on the right path, they have since gone three matches without a win. This run finally ended after a 1-0 victory against Sheffield United on Saturday. League One promotion odds from Betfair places Barnsley at a distant 11/1 to get promotion this season.

Despite the long odds, the simple fact is that they remain just nine points from the last play-off spot and we are not even at the halfway stage yet. One of the reasons for Barnsley struggling to maintain a consistent run has been their lack of goals. Despite having numerous strikers including former Reading star Leroy Lita, the club has struggled for goals. Averaging just over 1.5 goals per game is certainly not enough for a club that has promotion aspirations. This statistic would have made for grim reading had it not been for the flurry of goals in  the last few weeks, which certainly show that the club is heading in the right direction.One striker who has especially struggled is Kane Hemmings.

The 22-year-old was scoring goals for fun in his spell at Cowdenbeath. He may have spent only one season at the club, but a return of 24 goals in just 39 matches is an impressive return. Barnsley boss Danny Wilson would have expected Hemmings to carry this form when he signed the player on a free transfer in the summer. However, he has struggled and has managed only one goal in the 10 appearances. This solitary goal came a month ago against Bradford City.

It appears that Hemmings is struggling to settle at the club and the manager’s lack of confidence in his abilities certainly does not seem to be helping matters either. Acknowledging that his performances have not been good enough for being a regular starter, Hemmings says that he is prepared to bide his time. It is probably the worst possible time for a reserve striker at Barnsley. The current first choice pairing of Devante Cole and Sam Winnall have been doing extremely well in recent weeks.

Winnall has netted in his last two appearances, while Cole recently scored against Notts County and Peterborough United. Their performances have been much superior compared to the rest of the squad.

Since promotion remains an achievable objective even at this stage, there is a possibility of Wilson resting some of the players in the weekend’s cup match against managerless Burton Albion. Barnsley are one of the clubs to have lifted the FA Cup, but promotion holds a bigger draw. Hemmings got around the Burton area and he says that he was a frequent visitor to the Pirelli stadium as a youngster.

The club has enjoyed some great FA Cup runs in recent years including the memorable 2008 season. Barnsley managed to reach the semi-finals after beating some great club like Chelsea along the way. There was no fairytale after a defeat against Cardiff in the Millennium Stadium.

Even though the prospect of another great cup run seems mouth-watering, Wilson is experienced enough to be aware that such great cup runs do not come around often. It would make sense to focus on the league. This may result in names like Winnall and Cole rested for the match.

Betfair places Barnsley at 3/4 to get past Burton in the FA Cup first-round.

Even though Barnsley have been scoring consistently in the last few matches, it seems that Wilson is keen to strengthen the team. The club has been linked with a move for Carlisle United’s teenage striker, Kyle Dempsey. Barnsley are reported to have made an enquiry about the 19-year-old, but any potential deal is yet to progress because Carlisle recently confirmed that they are yet to receive an offer. Dempsey’s potential arrival could strengthen the strike force even more, but it could also hamper the opportunities for players like Hemmings.
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Ian Wilkinson

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