As the top team relegated, Barnsley will need to take every opportunity this year to assert itself in League One and bounce right back up to The Championship in short time.

The 2018-19 domestic football offseason should be unusually quiet. That’s not to say there won’t be a flurry of transactions (and indeed some interesting moves have already been made at the higher levels). But with most of the football world having turned its attention to Russia and the 2018 World Cup, the 2018-19 season is going to sneak up on us at the end of the summer. Even with the World Cup dominating attention however, we wanted to take a brief midsummer glance at the outlook for Barnsley in the upcoming League One season.

Where Things Stand

The 2018-19 season should be particularly interesting simply because Barnsley is starting in a new league. Granted, one would rather have moved up a league than down, but so it goes sometimes. Barnsley was relegated from The Championship after finishing 22nd in the league, just two points behind Bolton in the safe 21st spot. As you’ll likely recall, Jose Morais was sacked soon thereafter as the team searches for a fresh beginning. Again, it’s better to be promoted than relegated if you’re going to start in a new league, but Barnsley supporters should at least be able to head into the autumn expecting to win matches. As the top team relegated, Barnsley will need to take every opportunity this year to assert itself in League One and bounce right back up to The Championship in short time.

Summer Moves

As of now the summer has been all about departures for Barnsley. Looking at the list of transactions to date, we’ve seen the loss of six players to date (counting three who have simply expired and appear unlikely to be brought back). Captain right-back Andy Yiadom has signed a new deal with Reading, Bradley Ash moved on to Boreham Wood, and Christoph Knasmullner (who won’t be missed by most supporters) wound up with Rapid Vienna in the Austrian Bundesliga. As for incoming players, there isn’t a great deal of news just yet. But we do have a new manager in Daniel Stendel to be excited about. Though he was sacked after his first season as a head coach for Hannover 96, Stendel should bring a fresh approach to Barnsley. A former German striker, he emphasizes pace and aggression, to the tune of 50 goals in just 28 matches while he was in charge at Hannover. Additi onally, at just 44 years of age, Stendel should naturally inject some energy into the club.

The Odds

At this early stage you may have a hard time finding meaningful, updated odds on League One for 2018-19. For one thing, the summer transfer window is still open and teams’ rosters are still in flux. And for another, as mentioned, there just isn’t as much attention as usual being paid to domestic leagues given that the World Cup is in full swing. That said, the odds are at our fingertips these days with online and mobile betting sites, such that as soon as they do start to trickle out, you’ll have no trouble finding them. All we can say right now is that as the strongest team relegated, Barnsley should be in the hunt at the top of the league, at least as far as preseason odds are concerned.

The Hopes

The obvious, primary hope is that this team can quickly get back up to Championship football after one season, and then progress through the second tier over time. This is an attainable goal, and one that will be on all supporters’ minds. Within this goal however, the big thing to watch and hope for will be what Stendel does to a roster that’s going to continue to change. Despite his having been sacked after one season at Hannover 96, Stendel appears to be a promising young manager, and one who will inspire an entertaining brand of football. The hope, therefore, is that Barnsley will not just establish winning ways in League One, but do so in a way that’s a treat to watch.
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Michael Payne

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