Barnsley residents invited to spend the night at Oakwell Stadium to support Youth Homeless Charity 50th Anniversary Sleep Out.

Centrepoint and Barnsley FC are inviting local businesses and residents to take on the challenge of swapping their bed for a sleeping bag for one night in November to raise awareness and vital funds for youth homelessness.

The Sleep Out event, now in its third year, is expecting to surpass last year’s efforts where over 100 local residents spent the night in Oakwell Stadium and collectively raised over £35,000.

The money raised at the event will go directly towards the local services supporting homeless young people in Barnsley; ensuring young people in each town and city can have safe and stable accommodation, the skills needed to live independently, support with their physical and mental health alongside access to training and education.

Centrepoint, the UK’s leading youth homelessness charity, supports more than 60 homeless young people every day in Barnsley, and over 200 across Yorkshire.

Chloe Sykes, Centrepoint’s Senior Fundraising Officer, said: “While Sleep Out doesn’t aim to replicate the reality of homelessness, taking part in can help highlight just some of the difficulties faced by young people who face homelessness. Sleeping on the floor, dealing with the cold and the noise and then facing the next day with very little sleep.

“The event only lasts one night the money raised will have a huge ongoing impact on those who unfortunately find homelessness as their reality. It will help to support vulnerable young people to gain the skills and confidence they need to move on in to education, work and a home.”

“This year marks Centrepoint’s 50th year in service so we want to make this year our biggest Sleep Out yet!”

The event takes place on Thursday 14th November at the home stadium of Barnsley FC.

Do your part by signing up to Sleep Out at Centrepoint.org.uk/SleepOut or find out other ways you can change the story by visiting Centrepoint.org.uk/ChangeTheStory,

About Centrepoint

  • Centrepoint is the leading charity for homeless young people aged 16-25.
  • Centrepoint supports over 15,000 homeless young people a year.
  • It provides accommodation-based and floating support services in London, Yorkshire, Manchester and the North East. It also runs the Centrepoint Helpline.
  • The Freephone Centrepoint Helpline is for any young person aged 16-25 who is worried about homelessness. It is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm. The Centrepoint Helpline number is: 0808 800 0661.
  • Centrepoint’s work is about more than just providing a safe bed for the night; Centrepoint helps young people to turn their lives around by gaining essential life skills; tackling their physical and mental health issues and moving into education or employment.
  • Through policy work, Centrepoint aims to influence public policy, campaigning on behalf of the young people it supports and homeless young people throughout the UK.
  • HRH The Duke of Cambridge became Centrepoint’s Patron in 2005.

Some 10 years ago, Barnsley brought in Emil Hallfredsson on loan from Reggina. He spent the season at Oakwell - a campaign of initial struggle under Simon Davey that later saw the Tykes pull away from trouble with Mark Robins in charge and ultimately end the campaign in lower mid-table. Hallfredsson scored three goals and made four assists in 27 Championship games for Barnsley. It's a pretty unremarkable return even by the in-and-out standards often set by wide midfielders and wingers.
The career of this Iceland international was anything but ordinary. However, after coming through the ranks at Fimleikafelag Hafnarfjardar in his homeland, Hallfredsson was headhunted by then-Tottenham Hotspur sporting director, Frank Arnesen. That great Dane had a glittering playing career and was charged with finding left-wing options for Spurs. Arnesen took a scattergun approach to solving this problematic position, also signing Switzerland's, Reto Ziegler, and the famous Andy Reid from Nottingham Forest.

Hallfredsson never made a first-team appearance for Tottenham, but did show glimpses of what he could do in the reserves and later show further promise during a 2006 loan spell with Malmo in Sweden. He then left White Hart Lane on a permanent basis for Norwegian capital club, Lyn Oslo only to immediately move on to then-Serie A side, Reggina.

It was in Italy where Hallfredsson would spend the vast majority of his club career. Although in and out of the picture at Calabrian club Reggina, he dropped down two divisions to help Hellas Verona go from Serie C back to Serie A.

Once the momentum of that rise through the divisions ebbed, however, Hellas became something of a yo-yo club between the Italian top flight and Serie B. Since Hallfredsson left Verona midway through 2015-16, they've gone down and been promoted twice. They're among the favourites for the drop again this term at 11/8 in the latest Serie A betting on relegation outright markets with bet365.

During his time in Italy, Hallfredsson played with established stars and cult heroes like World Cup-winning striker, Luca Toni, Mexico defensive icon, Rafael Marquez, and Udinese talisman, Antonio Di Natale.

It was whilst he was on the books of that club that Hallfredsson enjoyed his finest hour. He not only qualified with Iceland for a first major international tournament in Euro 2016, but was a part of their squad when they reached the quarter-finals - famously eliminating England in the last 16 en route.
Hallfredsson may have been on the fringes of Icelandic exploits, but was again a part of the roster that reached the 2018 World Cup in Russia. As an individual, his goal in a Euro 2008 qualifier against subsequent dual European champions, Spain, that earned his country a point, would most probably be a personal highlight for the player.

Iceland's opposition that day counted future World Cup winners, Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Fernando Torres, and David Villa among the players involved. All in all, not bad for a lad who didn't really cut it at Barnsley!
For the first South Yorkshire derby of the season, The Reds make the short trip down the M1 to Hillsborough, to face a Sheffield Wednesday side coming off of the back of a terrific 3-1 victory over Reading on the opening day.

So ahead of Saturday's clash, I spoke to Eddie from the superb Sheffield Wednesday blog 'Opinion of an Owl' to try and gain a little bit of intel on our opponents from S6.

How was your opening day fixture against Reading?

Very successful. A great team performance, with the addition of the shining performance of Kadeem Harris, making his competitive debut. Would have been the perfect start had Westwood not been sent off.

Which Barnsley player are you most fearful of come Saturday?

Mallik Wilks, without a doubt. I have to admit, I was hugely surprised and jealous when I saw you sign him. He is everything Wednesday needed (although we now have Harris) and his performance against Fulham was certainly impressive.

Since Steve ‘Snakey’ Bruce has left S6, would you have Carlos Carvalhal back?

No. Whilst the first and, to an extent, second season of Carlos’ reign were some of the best since the turn of the century, that is in the past. We should now look forward and appoint a manger who can use money wisely - something Carlos failed to do.

Following on front that Q, who would be, putting all odds aside, your top three for the vacancy?

Chris Hughton - the only one of the three to have experience in this league, his record speaks for himself. However, there are many rumours flying around that he has declined the opportunity to speak to the Hillsborough hierarchy already.

Lee Bullen - the only one of the three to know the squad, I feel he may deserve the chance to have a go at the job full-time. Continue the good results and I’ll have no complaints.

Danny Cowley - Unknown at this level, yet has done wonders with the Imps. Would be a gamble but a young, innovative manager could be what we need.

Which SWFC player should The Reds really keep a look out for on Saturday?

Kadeem Harris. Did wonders on his debut and looks like he may be what we have been missing. Also making his home league debut, hopefully he can reproduce his display at Reading.

Any good memories of this fixture, and on the other hand any bad ones?

I remember a few years ago when we beat you at Hillsborough 2-0 I think, yet the highlight for me was the bizarre red card for Adam Hammill. If I remember rightly, Hutchinson should have received the marching orders, not Hammill. Talking about bad memories, I’m not sure. Probably Harvey Barnes’ wonder-goal in the last home game we had against you. That was the start of the ‘Barnes will tear you apart, again’ curse.

Even though it’s early days, how do you see this season coming to fruition for SWFC?

It all depends on the manger situation. I would be happy with anywhere from 4th-10th. I just want us to be pushing for play-offs. Anything higher is a bonus.

Lastly, score prediction?

1-1 (One all). I think it will be a great, fast-paced, end to end game. It will be interesting to see the certain battles on the pitch. I think the game will be won or lost in the midfield.

On Monday evening The Reds announced the departure of much loved striker Kieffer Moore, as he shunned Oakwell to team up with the Latics and 'Crusty the Pie'. The result of this departure was The Reds receiving a hefty £4M, and 'Keef' leaving a hole in The Reds' squad, so with many fans expecting that hole to be filled in, I look at the rumours swirling around Grove Street on the week of the transfer deadline.

First up, and with his name in the post it will come as no surprise to you that I'm going to write about Croatian striker Sandro Kulenovic, currently playing for Legia Warsaw in Poland's top division, the Etralaska. Likened to both Mario Mandzukic in physique and strength  and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in how quick he is.

Kulenovic has represented Croatia at every single youth level, right from U14's up to U21's. Last season in the Etralaska, Kulenovic bagged 4 in 21 games. Not outstanding numbers, but almost certainly not to be scoffed at, especially when you consider that he started most games on the bench and scored whilst on the pitch - once in every 178 minutes. Going off of this average, if Kulenovic were to have started all 37 games in the Etralaska he would've probably bagged around 17 goals, which is outstanding for a player who hasn't even turned twenty yet. This season so far, he has scored in his sole appearance in the league for Legia, and a further once in the Europa League, starting this season off with a bang you could almost say. Available for around €3M, The Reds have already bid €2.7M, which with bonuses could hit that magic figure, keep your eyes peeled Reds fans. I think this one could be a go-er.

Next, a player who has been linked with The Reds for well over a month now, Marcus Tavernier. Having seen an opening bid of £1.7M rejected on July 21st, and a second bid of £2.6M rejected in early August, could we see 'Tav' in a Red shirt before Thursday's 5PM deadline, with The Reds set to swoop in with a final bid?

Despite being seen by 'Boro fans as a poster-boy for Jonathan Woodgate's new look side, The Reds quite clearly think a deal can be struck with the Teeside club, as most likely if not negotiations would not have been carried out so far down the line from our first bid. Tavernier looks set to be a top player in the future as well, already capped 19 times by England U19's and England U20's. He is a top talent and I would love to see him at Grove Street.

Merely to round off my points on Tavernier. For Middlesborough, in total he has 6 goals and 4 assists in 35 appearances; most of which came from the bench. We should also consider his age, Tavernier's record is outstanding.

Now probably the player who has been linked heaviest to The Reds, Tom Pearce. With a bid in the region of £850K enough to tempt Leeds into selling. It looks as though The Reds could get a real coup in the form of Pearce.

Like many of the players in this post, he is capped for his country at youth level, having made 2 appearances for the England U21's and 8 for the England U20's. Ironically Pearce's first ever professional career goal was actually against The Reds in a 2-1 victory for Leeds in April 2018. A 3rd incoming from Leeds in one summer may be on the cards here, and I'm all for it, Left-Back is without doubt our weakest area on the field in terms of depth, and i feel Pearce would be a superb option to have.

Lastly, a couple of rumours. Reports from Football Insider, the firm who first brought us news of Mallik Wilks and Aapo Halme's incomings have suggested that a 'Loan to buy' move may be about to occur for young West Brom midfielder Sam Field. Once again he has been capped by England at youth level 22 times across three different age groups, and displays a bit of Championship pedigree having played 12 times for the Baggies last term. However, it remains to be seen whether interest in Field is actually concrete.

Another one from the Oakwell Rumour Mill is that the 'back-up option' if a deal for Sandro Kulenovic fails to materialise is Hannover 96 forward Hendrik Weydandt. Weydandt bagged 6 goals in the Bundesliga last term, averaging a goal every 287 minutes in Germany's top flight. If a deal were to be struck for Weydandt the touted fee is that he would cost around €2.5M. So a hefty amount, but still a fair bit cheaper than Kulenovic. However, much like a deal for Sam Field, it remains to be seen if interest is concrete and not just a falsification.

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.

Kicking off the new season, Fulham head up the M1 from Craven Cottage following a disappointing season in the Premier League. Ahead of Saturday's match, I caught up with Dan Smith from the excellent Fulham blog, Fulham Focus, to find out what we can expect from our opening day opponents.

What are your hopes and fears for the season?

It’s the hope that kills you right? I think given our position coming down from the Premier League plus, having spent £100 million last summer, it would be quite worrying if we weren’t hoping to be in the mix for automatic promotion. We’ve kept the majority of our squad together, Cairney and Mitrovic have signed new contracts whilst we’ve added quality with Cavaleiro and Knockaert out wide. We have potentially the best attacking line in the division so anything short of top 6 really will be underwhelming.

On the flip side, we have a manager who is taking on his first managerial role in a season where it is essential that we are promoted. We have a new Riverside stand being built and it’ll look like a white elephant, failing to meet the corporate market that it’s being aimed at if we stay out of the top flight for too long, so he’s under pressure immediately to deliver. Add to that our defence, you couldn’t be given a bigger contrast between attack and defence if you tried. We are yet to sign any defenders to improve on the second worst goals conceded record in Premier League history and if Barnsley are to have any joy against us, it’ll be at that end of the field with an in-form Woodrow coming back to haunt us.

Which Fulham player should the Reds be most fearful of?

Take your pick from the front 4. Cavaleiro, Mitrovic, Knockaert with Tom Cairney behind them orchestrating the attacks. It really is a devastating line up at this level. We are yet to see 'Cav' or Knockaert play as this will be their debuts. But knowing what he’s capable of, I have to stick with 'Mitro' as the main threat. When he joined us in the January of our last promotion, no defender in this league could handle him. He’s now fitter and settled in Fulham and that does not make good reading for centre backs in the Championship.

How do you think you will do this season?

As mentioned above, I think we will be heavily reliant on our attack to win us games. So it should be a very entertaining season with goals galore at both ends. My fear is that behind every good team there is a good defence and it’s impossible to gauge our potential based on that. But I’m forever the optimist and I’m going to quietly whisper that I feel we ‘should’ win the league or at least be a strong contender. Our squad on paper cost significantly more than everyone else’s so by rights I think that’s a fair assumption to make rather than a cocky one. If we don’t there can be no excuses and worst ways I’m hoping for top 4 for the home advantage in the playoffs.

What are your thoughts on Barnsley, and which player would you take from us?

I’ve always seen you as a second tier club and it’s good to see you back. With so much money coming down with the failed Premier League clubs, plus so many sleeping giants in this division, it’s going to be hard for the likes of Luton, yourselves and Charlton to compete beyond mid-table. You face 5 really important games after us, all against sides that I expect to be in the bottom half of the league. So the six pointers start from the off and your season will most likely be determined by how well you do in those early games, just like it will be for most clubs. I think you’ll survive but will be down there in the mix along with 6 or 7 others.

We have put all our eggs in one basket with Mitrovic up top and have very little cover if he was to get injured. So Cauley Woodrow being the tried and trusted would be a safe bet. He struggled to make an impact here but as a backup who will only be needed in emergencies (because of 'Mitro’s' fit, he plays), we could do a lot worse.

Any fond memories of trips to Oakwell?

It has to be the 1-3 victory during our 23 game unbeaten run in the 2017/18 promotion season. You were 1 up before Dimitri Cavare discovered the red mist and man handled Stefan Johansen foolishly just before half time. You were controlling the game up until that point but it gave us a platform to grow into the game. We nicked it in injury time with a really scrappy goal from Kevin McDonald scrambling it over the goal line and Sessegnon rounded it off a minute or so later for 3-1. It’s always a good journey home when you score a late winner and Oakwell in general is a good away day.

Any not so fond ones?

None that stick out but I’ve just looked it up and we’ve only lost to you once up at yours in my lifetime and I was born in 88! So that bodes well!

Lastly, score prediction? 

It’s the worst time to be playing a promoted team away from home. Everything is hunky dory and there’s no pressure yet. Plus, we haven’t kept any clean sheets during pre season and ex players (this time Woodrow) always seem to do well against us. So, I’m going to go with a 2-4 win to Fulham. That fire power proving the difference after a very nervy start.

In this series we are celebrating the 11th anniversary of OnThePontyEnd, and to do so we decided to set up a number of Twitter polls, to well and truly decide once and for all, what is the greatest Barnsley FC XI of the last eleven years?

Today we look at the final part of the XI, the attack. Midfield and defence issues have already been published, and the links to them will be at the bottom of this post.

RF: Ricardo Vaz Te

Despite spending only six months with the Reds, Ricardo Vaz Te was the winner of the right-forward vote, beating Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Marley Watkins to the position. Initially joining the club on a trial basis after his release from Hibernian, Vaz Te impressed Keith Hill that much that the Reds offered Vaz Te a contract. However, despite his red hot pre-season form Vaz Te could not take that same form into the start of the 2011/12 season, taking until October 18th against Burnley to bag his first goal in a Red shirt. After that goal, there was no looking back for Vaz Te, goal after goal followed, screamer after screamer, which meant every-time he put the ball in the net, came that shimmy celebration with Jim O'Brien! Particular screamers include one at London Road in a 4-3 victory over the Posh, and that ridiculous 8 second strike against Crystal Palace, the fastest goal in the history of the Championship. Then came probably Vaz Te's most iconic moment in a Red shirt, a hat-trick against Leeds United at Oakwell on New Years Eve, inspiring the Reds to a 4-1 victory, having come on as a substitute following the leg-snapping challenge from Michael Brown on Jacob Butterfield. Sadly, just a day later Vaz Te rejected a new contract offered to him by the club and the writing was on the wall. He left for West Ham at the end of that month. Despite this though, in the end it proved to be his early season goals that ultimately kept the club in England's second tier, and a Portsmouth points deduction.

LF: Adam Hammill

Taking 91% of the vote, Adam Hamill most certainly has the mandate to take up this position, absolutely thrashing Martin Devaney and Ryan Kent on his way to the left-forward birth. Initially joining us on loan from Liverpool, Hammill was an instant hit with the Reds fans scoring on the last day of the 08/09 season at home park in a 2-1 victory over Plymouth Argyle. The season after, 09/10 Hammill signed permanently at Oakwell, and had a good season, at the age of just 21 scored 4 and set up 5, along with also winning the 2009 goal of the year award for his screamer against Derby County in a move that we have seen so many times from Hammill. Cutting in from the left and bending a beauty into the corner was uniquely his trademark. However it was 2010/11 when Hammill became arguably the best player in the division at the time, and if anything that is an understatement. Scoring an impressive 8 goals and bagging 6 assists in half a season, along with stellar solo performances, most notably on that night at Oakwell where Leeds United were torn apart by Hammill's brilliance, he assisted 3 and scored 1 as we were victorious 5-2. Performances like these were bound to attract Premiership interest, and Hammill left for Wolves in January 2011, marking the end of his first era. It was just like the stars had aligned perfectly when Hammill made a return to Oakwell with Barnsley languishing at the bottom of England's third tier and on a run of 8 defeats in a row, Hammill scored and assisted in a 2-1 JPT victory over York City, the game many regard as the start of the comeback trail. What followed after this game was more than a mere fairytale and Hammill inspired the Reds to Wembley in both league and cup, with 3 goals and 3 assists in the JPT amongst which was a beauty against Oxford United at Wembley. In the league and play-offs Hammill was a different beast, scoring a Maradona-esque goal agaisnt Millwall at Oakwell in a game that lifted the Reds to within touching distance of the top 6, and eventually The Reds made the play-offs after a do or die fixture against Wigan Athletic. Scoring the opener in both legs against Walsall, Hammill stepped onto the turf at Wembley knowing full well that if he could repeat his heroics against Oxford he would confirm his place as legend. He did just that and more. Cutting in from 35 yards out on the left and unleashing a rocket into the top right stanchion, scoring what is in my opinion the greatest ever Barnsley goal, incredible. Despite two pretty average seasons after the Reds had returned to the Championship, Hammill will forever be remembered as an all-time Barnsley great, my favourite Barnsley player of all-time, no doubt whatsoever about that. 'Adam Hammill Is A Red, Is A Red, Is A Red, Adam Hammill Is A Red, He Hates Leeds Scum!'.

ST: Cauley Woodrow

Victorious with 56% of the vote, Cauley Woodrow is the striker in this side beating off Sam Winnall and Daniel Bogdanovic, both of whom probably didn't have the best chance of winning due to the way they left Grove Street. Anyway, onto Woodrow. Arriving from Fulham for a reported £700K, Woodrow made the perfect start to life at Barnsley, bagging in his 2nd league game for the club in a crucial away game with a sell-out Barnsley crowd at Accrington Stanley. Since then Woodrow has just gone from strength to strength always seeming to pop up with a vital goal, scoring 7 match-winners in 2018/2019 alone, more match-winning goals than any other Red since Craig Hignett in 1999/2000. Not simply popping up with winners, but also with crucial equalisers, like against Doncaster Rovers and Blackpool at Oakwell. With an end of season total of 16 goals as The Reds achieved promotion at the first time of asking to the 2nd tier, for the first time since the rebranding of the Championship, the Reds would have probably been a far cry from the top two if it was not for Woodrow's goals, and contributions. Impressively bagging a goal every 154 minutes, Woodrow's 18/19 we can only hope will be followed up by an even better 19/20! 'Nah, na na na nah, na na na nah, na na nah, na na nah ... Cauley Woodrowwwwwww!'.

This post marks the end of the XI, but don't fret more #OTPE11 themed content will be coming soon!

Read Best XI: Defence
Read Best XI: Midfield

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.

In this series we are celebrating the 11th anniversary of OnThePontyEnd, and to do so we decided to set up a number of Twitter polls, to well and truly decide once and for all, what is the greatest Barnsley FC XI of the last eleven years?

Following on from our recent Best X1: Defence post, today we are looking at the Reds' Midfield. Keep your eyes peeled for the final post in this series which is coming very soon and will feature the popular players from Attack.

CM: Conor Hourihane

Taking the biggest victory of any player in these polls with 95% of the vote, Conor Hourihane is the first Centre-Mid in this side, comprehensively beating Jacob Butterfield and Josh Scowen. Arriving from Plymouth Argyle for a bargain £225K in June 2014, Hourihane made the perfect start to life at Oakwell bagging worldies against Yeovil Town, Gillingham and Coventry City, picking up the Sky Bet League One player of the month award in the process. Despite not picking up any other personal accolades that season, 14/15 was a stellar one for 'King Conor' scoring 13 goals and picking up a further 14 assists. Then came a season that truly wrote his name into Reds folklore. In 2015/16 with the Reds languishing at the lower reaches of League One, Hourihane took over the captaincy from Alfie Mawson, and the fortunes of the Reds changed dramatically. Losing only 3 games from December 19th onwards, Hourihane was a real catalyst in both league and cup, scoring in the EFL Trophy semi-final against Fleetwood Town, and providing 4 assists in the competition overall, including one in the final. Yet it was in the league where he truly made his mark once again hitting double figures for goals and assists, bagging 10 and assisting 14, in amongst them goals were crucial thunderstrikes against arch-rivals Sheffield United in the final minute, and in a do or die play-off deciding clash with champions Wigan Athletic, an incredible season. In his final six months with the Reds, Hourihane inspired the side to 5th place on January the 28th when he eventually made his long awaited move to Aston Villa, scoring 7 and assisting 12 on his way. It was fitting that his final act was a goal of the season winner, that victorious strike against Leeds United from 25 yards out. A goal that many feel amongst the Oakwell terraces was one that cemented his place as a true Barnsley legend, 'Here's to you Conor Hourihane, Barnsley loves you more than you will know...'.

CM: Brian Howard

In a much closer contested poll than the one talked about prior, Brian Howard is the victor, only just edging current Red Alex Mowatt, and Josh Brownhill. Joining really as a back-up to Stephen McPhail in 2005, Howard really came into his own following his recovery from a broken bone in his foot, and was an integral member of the side that eventually gained promotion to the Championship, following that famous play-off final victory against Swansea City. However once he had been given the chance to showcase himself at a higher level, Howard become the Reds' star man. In 2006/07 bagged 8 goals and assisted a further 6, as his contributions ultimately were a key factor in The Reds avoiding the drop. During 2007/08, Brian Howard became not only Barnsley's most talked about prospect, but the Championship's too, all whilst simultaneously managing to flood his own house by leaving the tap on whilst at training (don't ask me how I know that). In all seriousness though, a season which included THAT goal against Liverpool and an appearance in the PFA Championship team of the year truly merits his place in this XI. It's just a real shame how Howard left the club. A decade on from the controversial move to the red and white side of Sheffield, the sour grapes have been swallowed and any Reds fan that voted for Howard to be in this side can look past it, and see what a marvellous 'laiker' he was for Barnsley.

CM: Cameron McGeehan

In probably what was the weakest selection of players in these midfield polls, Cam McGeehan reigns victorious easily beating Hugo Colace and Jim O'Brien. A midfield pivot, whose role is to rampage forward and provide the killer pass, Cam McGeehan shone on the Reds' road to the Championship last season after a slow yet turbulent start to life at Oakwell. Signed by Paul Heckingbottom for just shy of a million pounds, McGeehan's minutes were restricted at the start of the season due to his recovery from a broken leg, which he had suffered whilst playing for Luton Town. However once he was back fit again, 'Hecky' used Cam as a number 10 in a midfield three, much more often than his preferred role of an 8, as maybe his squad number may suggest. Then due to sub-par performances in his non-preferred role he was turfed out to Scunthorpe for the latter half of the 2017/18 season. Yet when Daniel Stendel came in he breathed a new lease of life into McGeehan, and stellar performances coupled with vital goals helped him retain his place in the side - even when Kenneth Dougall returned from injury. A real class player in every sense, Cam Mac is regarded as a real bright prospect for the season ahead, as many of the Oakwell faithful cannot wait to see him once more partner Alex Mowatt in the Reds midfield. But thanks to your votes, it will be Brian Howard and Conor Hourihane whom he partners in this side!

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.

In this series we are celebrating the 11th anniversary of OnThePontyEnd, and to do so we decided to set up a number of Twitter polls, to well and truly decide once and for all, what is the greatest Barnsley FC XI of the last eleven years?

Today, we start out with the defence, with the midfield and attack issues coming soon.

In goal: Heinz Muller

Taking 59% of the twitter poll, it was put beyond doubt that much revered German shotstopper Heinz Muller should be the reigning 1 in this side, beating off competition from Luke Steele and Adam Davies. Joining in August 2007 from Lillestrom in the Norweigan premiership, Muller was taken to immediately by the Oakwell faithful, thanks to memorable penalty saves, most notably saves against Wolves' Andy Keogh, and the now iconic save and celebration against Preston North End in the last minute of the 2007/08 clash in which the Reds were victorious 1-0. A true Reds cult-hero in every sense of the word, his performances have not only put him in the history books, the hearts and minds of Barnsley fans, but also our XI. Viva Heinz Muller!

Right-Back: Kieran Trippier

With a 73% majority, Kieran Trippier was the overwhelming favourite amongst those who took part in the twitter poll to take up the position of right-back, battering other nominees James Bree and Mason Holgate in the process of doing so. Arriving from Manchester City on a season-long loan in 2010, the incoming of Tripps' was first met frostily, due to his 'bad boy' reputation which he had amassed whilst a youngster at the City Of Manchester Stadium. However, by the summer of 2011, he had won the young player of the year gong in the end of season awards ceremony, and built up an excellent rapport with the Reds fans thanks to his endless work ethic, quality on the ball and in the tackle in amongst some incredibly memorable moments. One of my strongest memories as a Barnsley fan is that moment when he curled the ball to perfection into the top corner against Doncaster Rovers in the last minute. That memory is still vivid today in my mind. Seven years on from that goal against 'Donny' he did the same to Croatia in a World Cup Semi-Final. Madness!

Left-Back: Andy Yiadom

In what was to be honest, a position devoid of much quality for the Reds in the last 11 years, Andy Yiadom reigns victorious against other candidates Dani Pinillos and Jay McEveley. Joining on a bosman in the summer of 2016 folllowing our promotion from League One via the play-offs, Yiadom was an instant hit at Oakwell due to his work-rate and versatility. Moving to left-back in October due to the dominance of James Bree on the right-side of defence, Yiadom never looked back, and capped off an excellent 16/17 with a Ghana call-up. Though still putting in a 7/10 every weekend, Yiadom looked a shadow of his former self in 17/18,  having fallen out of favour with the Barnsley faithful over his handling of himself in the wake of an approach from Huddersfield Town for his services. He left on a free to Reading with a large odour of what could have been in the air, nonetheless, a terrific left-back in his first year with the Reds.

Right Cenre-Back: Jason Shackell

Despite John Stones' initial victory in this poll, thanks to feedback from OnThePontyEnd readers, I reversed his victory, meaning Shackell takes his place in the side having edged out his partner in crime at the time Stephen 'Fozzy' Foster. A tough-tackling, yet elegant centre-half, Jason Shackell joined the club for £700K in July 2010, and was immediately awarded the captaincy by then Reds gaffer, Mark Robins. Impressing many in the second tier that season, Shackell was an almost ever-present in the Starting XI that season, appearing in 44 of 46 league games, and at the end of the season picked up the player of the season award, which in the end was a kiss of death. Leaving the Reds to join the Rams for a million pounds just two months later. However, despite this Shackell left a lasting impression, and is regarded as one of the best Barnsley defenders since the millennium and this poll showcases that.

Left Centre-Back: Alfie Mawson

Taking the W in the closest and most-voted poll, Alfie Mawson only just secures the position, taking 48 percent of the poll, just ahead of Ethan Pinnock with 45 percent, who were both half a world away from Marc Roberts who took only 6 percent. However, more on Mawson now. A Lee Johnson signing in 2015, arriving on a free from Brentford, Mawson was a regular and 'El Capitano' in the Reds' run to the bottom of England's third tier. Yet when the armband went to Conor Hourihane he transformed into a different beast, winning a huge percentage of his aerial duals and bagging an impressive 9 goals in 63 apps. When he made his Premier League move to Swansea City, Mawson impressed so much for the Reds that many tipped him for England duty. A rolls-royce of a Defender, he more than warrants his place in this side, and should he start on August the 3rd against us, will more than likely receive an excellent reception from all four sides of Oakwell.

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.
How many times this summer have we heard, this signing is going to be the one that is going to be the one that catapults the Reds into the stratosphere of the Championship top ten. However no member of the playing staff is going to be the one key for this if it were to happen even if they were to display stellar performances, for me it would be the man that sends them out onto the pitch and coaches them day in day out, and that man is Daniel Stendel.

When Herr Stendel took over from Jose Morais in the Summer of 2018, it was anyone's guess as to what he would be like. He spoke no English, and after the nightmare that was Morais' short but ill-fated reign as manager, many might have wondered, what if we have a repeat? However what followed was anything but that.

Transforming a team that had no identity and pretty much no plan has to be highly commended, never mind turning them into an incredible gegenpressing team, and getting the best out of players like; Alex Mowatt, Mama Thiam and Dimi Cavare. Finishing second in the division was also very impressive, and is another incredible achievement. You can read even more about this in my piece in the August edition of 'World Soccer Magazine'.

However, moving onto the future, I truly do not think we will understand how brilliant Stendel will be for us in the Championship. We can attack the Championship with a style of football that is very unique, and with Stendel at the helm I can see us doing something incredible. If you only cast your mind back to last season, Norwich won the Championship playing a similar way to Stendel, the gegenpress. Could we do the same? It truly is possible after all, a lot of our new players are unknown quantities, the likes of Bambo Diaby, Sam Radlinger and Mads Andersen really could become superb Championship players.

Tying him down would be a real statement of intent, and after the actions of 'Ecky and those who have preceded him, It is key so that he doesn't get poached. Singlehandedly, apart from the finance side of things, he will have attracted many a laiker to Oakwell this season, and if we get an incredible season in the Championship under our belts, who knows what calibre of player he may be able to attract come this time next year?

Paul Conway, you have one mission, tie him down!

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.
After the recent departure of skipper Adam Davies, and vice Ethan Pinnock, the Reds are in need of a new captain and vice-captain, so today I ask: 'who deserves the armband?'. In this post I will look into a few candidates, and some of the factors that may help them become the captain at Oakwell.

Cameron McGeehan
First up it's Cam McGeehan. One of the more experienced members of the Reds side, in terms of EFL appearances, and a central midfielder who is very vocal, and a good leader. I would say Cam is quite probably the leading candidate for the role of skipper. After breaking into the side last season following the injury of Kenneth Dougall, he really hasn't looked back since, and stellar performances were rewarded with a new contract in the Summer.

Named as 'El Capitano' against Stalybridge Celtic on Wednesday night might also indicate that Daniel Stendel favours McGeehan for the armband,. Another element that may back up his claim to the captaincy is that he was Norwich City's youth cup winning captain, meaning that out of the Reds' current squad he is the only player with past experience of the position. McGeehan really could thrive with the armband on, in a similar way to Conor Hourihane, who after being given that amount of responsibility transformed into a different beast.

Alex Mowatt
Much like his midfield partner McGeehan, Alex Mowatt also has a multitude of EFL experience, having amassed over 200 professional appearances under his belt. However unlike McGeehan, Mowatt has never actually played a game as captain, which would mean that taking on the vacant role would be something completely new to him.

However, we saw last season that taking on more responsibility as the Reds' lynchpin in midfield saw Mowatt's performances drastically improve up to the point that many were tipping him to be Barnsley FC player of the season. He eventually finished second in the running for that award. However Alex made it into pretty much every Sky Bet League One team of the season under the sun, which begs the question, would he improve again if given even more responsibility by Herr Stendel?

Dani Pinillos
A bit of an outside choice for the armband, but due to him being a much more experienced pro in terms of the Reds' squad, could Pinillos take on the role as captain? Amassing over nine years worth of experience in the Pro scene, could Dani be the right man to be skipper for 2019/20? He is a very good pro, and I for one think he could take on the role and do it very well.

Kieffer Moore
Despite all of the current rumours circling around the target man's future, he captained the Reds on three occasions last term, and to very great effect, and against Accrington Stanley displayed superb leadership skills as the Reds won 2-0 and he bagged and assisted. If he were to stay then he would be a frontrunner for the post, and I for one would not be surprised if he took on the role.

In summary, if Kieffer Moore were to stay, I would give him the role of vice-captain and Cameron McGeehan the role of 'El Capitano'. However, I may be wrong and it may be that nobody I've mentioned gets a look-in or the armband.

Maybe Stendel will bring in yet another new face and captain elect?

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.

In my last blog post I touched upon the rumours of Kieffer Moore leaving Oakwell, and in this one I will take a look upon three players those high up at Oakwell should look at, if the 6ft 5 target man were to leave Grove Street.

Bright Enobakhare

A quick young forward who spent the latter half of last campaign on loan at the play-off chasing Coventry City built up an excellent partnership with Jordy Hiwula up top for the Sky Blues. If the Reds were to be looking to change style of play then Bright really should be someone who we should be looking at. He possesses pace, technical flair, strength along with much more, never mind the fact that he scored an impressive goal every 242 minutes in League One last season.

I could really see him being a player that gets the Oakwell faithful off of their seats and onto their feet, and you can see by the excellent rapport he has with Coventry fans that he is a fan favourite.

Whilst also knowing Luke Thomas, who was also on loan at the Sky Blues last term, I believe he could also strike up a terrific partnership with Cauley Woodrow, who together would have the perfect blend of; strength, pace, creativity and goals. Definitely one to look out for if Kieffer leaves.

Scott Hogan

Possessing bags of Championship experience and goals, could a season long loan deal for Scott Hogan, with a view to buy be a very good deal for the Reds? After struggling for game time at both Aston Villa and Sheffield United over the past two seasons, he may just be looking for regular game-time and a loan move for him may just be the perfect solution for Hogan to get his career back in track.

All of this considered and Daniel Stendel's want for Championship experienced players, a deal for Hogan may be a high priority for the Reds' hierarchy, and I for one would certainly look into it. Of the three however, this one may be the most problematic as the rumours are that Hogan is on £45,000 per week at Villa Park, thus without a huge subsidy from the Villains this move would be undo-able.

Tom Eaves

Like for like replacement for Moore in every sense of the word. Both netting seventeen goals in the league in 2017/18, both 'target man' strikers and both turning 27 in 2019. To be honest a move for Eaves is probably highly unlikely, but if Herr Stendel were to feel that he wanted a striker with a surplus of height, he's your man.

With the age that is Eaves is at, a two year deal would most likely be the length of contract the Reds would look to sign him at, and with his stock never being higher, I'm sure he would want a longer deal. Nevertheless, Eaves would be a decent Moore replacement, and I'm sure could do an equally as good job.

With talks for Conor Chaplin, Moussa Kone and Sam Lammers reportedly underway, realistically of the three I have mentioned, feesibly only one would be considered, who would you want the most in a red shirt at the start of 2019/20?

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.
In recent weeks the future of Reds striker Kieffer Moore has come under scrutiny, and with Millwall, Bristol City and an unamed CSL club set to swoop in for the 6ft5 target man, I ask the question 'should he stay or should he go?'.

It has to be said that only 5 months ago he suffered a career threatening injury, sustained in an aerial battle with Gillingham centre-half Gabriel Zakuani, and if Kieffer were to land heavily or collide in the air with a player again, which is quite likely due to his style of play, that could be the end of the road. So when we speak like this, let's say hypothetically an offer of £4,000,000 were to come in from Bristol City, would it be for the best, as a precautionary to sell him?

Another point that supports the view of him possibly heading out of the back door at Oakwell is the age that he is at. In recent years since Barnsley have adopted the 'Moneyball' strategy, the Reds don't tend to keep players above a certain age, 26, and with him turning 27 this month, could this signal the end for him?

Lastly on this front, along with money already generated from player sales in this window alone, and the money from a potential move for Moore, would it make 'Moore sense' for him to leave and for the Reds to bring in two strikers, with emphasis on the fact that it would be '2 for 1', and having more options is never a bad thing, right?

The three strikers, of which realistically 2 of them would sign, that are being touted to join Stendel's Red Army are PSV Eindhoven's Sam Lammers who bagged an impressive 18 goals in the Eredivise last year, averaging one every 169 minutes. Along with Lammers, the Reds are being heavily linked with a move for Dynamo Dresden frontman Moussa Koné, and last summer’s main transfer target, Coventry City’s Conor Chaplin. If any, who of these three would you like to see join the Reds?

However, many fans believe that we may be shooting ourselves in the foot, and that the sale of Moore would drastically weaken the team, after all losing seventeen goals in any side is never a good thing, never mind the ridiculous rate 'King Kieff' was scoring them at, averaging one every 138 minutes! Not bettered by any player in the division with more than fifteen goals! So when you add all of this up, it's easy to understand why some may be dismayed.

To conclude, I really don’t believe that Kieffer should be sold if the player wants to remain a Red. However, if the rumours are to be believed and the frontman has handed in a transfer request, then no way should we stand blocking the door for a player who doesn’t want to be here, and could command a £4,000,000 fee.

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.
Last evening the Reds completed the signing of Mallik Wilks from bitter Yorkshire rivals Leeds United, and it's fair to say that the Red Army were particularly overwhelmed and elated with the arrival of the winger who bagged seventeen and assisted a further ten for Doncaster Rovers last term. Yet it got me wondering about the future, and more in focus who may be starting on the left and right of midfield for the Reds against Fulham on the 3rd of August.

Mallik Wilks

The new man. It truly is an understatement when I say the signing of him was a huge coup, so fair dues to Paul Conway for financially pulling it off, and Daniel Stendel for no doubt impressing Wilks with the style of play he wants his Barnsley team to pull off. But more tactically, how will he fit in with Barnsley's midfield four?

Wilks, from what I gather, is quite the flair player much like a young Adam Hammill in that sense, whilst also having the pace and power of a much more experienced pro. When you put all these factors together it is most likely that Mallik would line up on the left, where he will have free reign to go on the outside of players on his favoured left foot. However, due to his versatility we could very much so still see him line up on the left. Lastly, if the Reds were to opt for a plan B (4-3-3) he is very much so capable of playing as an inside forward, a role which he played regularly for Leeds in his younger days in their youth set-up.

Browny - the Reds' 'Starman on the Right'

2018/19 really was the breakthrough year for Jacob Brown, despite in the first half of the season him really taking up the role of an impact sub, with his route in to the team blocked by Brad Potts on the right and Kieffer Moore and Cauley Woodrow up top he still amassed outstanding numbers for his first full year in the EFL. He scored eight goals and got six assists, with a goal on average every 258 minutes. Numbers not to be sniffed at. Let's talk about Browny's role tactically now. I expect him to resume his role on the right in 2019/20, however it is not a certainty as it may well be that he goes back to his role of 'Trequarista' this season due to the Reds' new found depth on the wings.

Either way I think Browny will continue to thrive this season, whatever role Herr Stendel decides to operate him in. Big things ahead.

Magic Mamadou

Whatever you think about Mama Thiam's 2017/18, his 18/19 certainly won over the large majority of Reds fans, and secured his status as a somewhat cult hero at Oakwell. Goals against Fleetwood, Charlton and Luton just to name a few where absolutely sensational, and in the case of his goals against the Addicks and Hatters secured vital points in our race for promotion.

Personally, I believe that despite the wingers we have at the club, the aforementioned duo of Jacob Brown and Mallik Wilks, and the yet to be mentioned double act of Jordan Green and Luke Thomas, Mamadou is the most technically gifted winger at the club, and thus if he adds more stamina and tactical awareness to his game could become an incredible player.

If he is given the nod on August the 3rd he would resume the role of the left winger who at times becomes an inside forward, very similar to the role that Mallik Wilks would likely take on for the Reds, and with him very capable of pulling something out of nothing, you need them type of players in the Championship so I wouldn't be surprised if he does start against Fulham.

The second wide arrival of the summer, Luke Thomas.

Arriving from Derby County who have recently had a name change after the departure of Frank Lampard, RIP 'Frank Lampard's Derby County' 2018-2019. Drafted in after a very good season with Coventry City, many Cov fans believe his numbers didn't fairly represent his performances last term, so despite his mere four goals and five assists, he actually had quite an impressive season. Blessed with bags of natural pace, Thomas is exactly the remedy that the Reds have been crying out for with many on the Oakwell terraces believing that we have looked pretty devoid of pace ever since the departure of Harvey Barnes almost eighteen months ago, and Thomas has bags of it, ready to burn. In my opinion, Luke will be used as a right-winger if selected against Fulham and really could expose Joe Bryan who will be low on confidence after a poor year in England's top tier.

Lastly, Jordan Green.

We haven't seen much of 'Greeny' since his arrival from Yeovil in January, but i for one think he could be a real asset for the Reds. Barring an impeccable pre-season which to be fair started pretty well against Stalybridge Celtic on Wednesday, he will most likely be on the bench against the Cottagers on August the 3rd. However were he to come off the bench he has lots of pace which in the latter stages of games can come in clutch, I for one will be keeping a looming eye on his progress throughout the summer.

To conclude, having weighed up all the possible options that Daniel Stendel could go with against Fulham on the opening day, I would go with Wilks on the left and Brown on the right, but it is only the 6th of July and 4/5ths of pre-season still remain and my opinion could be very much so swayed depending on how a player may do in our next four fixtures.

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.

This week The Reds sold star centre-half Ethan Pinnock, and it's safe to say the reaction from the Oakwell faithful was mixed. Many were annoyed at Paul Conway & Co, for yet another 'flog it' moment, where a key player in the Reds' squad was sold at what they believe to be a 'minimalistic price' for a player of 'Snoop's' calibre. Whilst on the other hand many just saw the sale as a progression of the club's 'Moneyball' approach, and not seeing the sale of Pinnock as the club losing quality, but as the club merely selling a player with one year left on his contract, and seeking to cash in whilst his stock his high. With the people who sit this side of the fence obviously perching on that side, under the proviso, that the money be re-invested into the playing staff.

However, whatever side of the fence you do sit on, we can all agree that in 18/19 we saw a Rolls-Royce of a centre-half dominate many a League One attack, and on that note it is obvious that we have lost a player of quality, who had significant passion for the crest he wore. I'm sure I speak for many a Red when I say this, good luck Ethan. Brentford are a terrific club and I'm sure he will thrive there under the stewardship of Thomas Frank.

In amongst the chaos of this all, I recognised something that really made me want to write, and that was the arrogance of many Reds and the lack of understanding of the club's position, both financially and in its pulling power. Ever since I can remember, Barnsley has been a selling club, and with 'Moneyball', it is obvious to me that the owners are accepting our position for the time being, but steadily making marginal gains, at the same time making a steady monetary gain.

The Now

Barnsley are quite possibly in the healthiest position that we have seen the club in, in modern times. Financially stable, under the stewardship of a terrific coach in Herr Stendel, and making progress it seems up the football food chain. Yet with the sale of just one player, many are seeming to forget how good a situation we are in, and in the few days that have followed Pinnock's sale it's evident how the mini breakdown of many Reds was in fact a huge overreaction.

The drafting in of young defender Toby Sibbick, Finnish colossus Aapo Halme and 'Big Bambo' Diaby are a real positive step in rebuilding the heart of our defence. Not to mention the early summer arrival of Mads Andersen, who I gather made quite the impression on Wednesday night against Stalybridge Celtic. So when you have fan reactions like this one, post Sibbick's signing, it really grinded on my gears and inspired me to start typing.

One thing we can all agree on is that Pinnock will be missed, he truly was a quality centre-half,  despite this we haven't yet seen what the next generation of Barnsley centre-halves will be like, and indeed all of the four new recruits in a year's time may well be held in higher esteem than 'Snoop'.

What do you think? All feedback is appreciated, if you want to feed something back to me or merely want a chat about BFC you can find me on twitter, my handle is @TomOTPE.

With the summer transfer window now upon us once more, it is that time of year again where fans of all clubs get excited, and potentially a little bit nervous, about what the upcoming months could have to offer. The fixtures have been announced for next season and the preparations are already underway. As the weeks go by, new rumours come and go with varying degrees of credibility, but it does raise the question of what Barnsley fans could expect to see throughout the remainder of the window.
Potential Signings

One of the names seemingly on the radar this summer is Motherwell’s David Turnbull, who scored 16 goals and provided seven assists last season. Barnsley look to have been beaten to his signature by Celtic, as of 21st June, after having an initial bid rejected.

Along with Turnbull, it is yet to be seen as to whether Barnsley would re-enter the hunt for St Johnstone’s Jason Kerr having had a bid rejected for the defender back in January. It has been reported that Kerr has once again become a top target for the Yorkshire outfit, who now have greater funds at their disposal following their promotion from League One. Whilst a deal appears plausible, it is likely that it will take a seven-figure sum, or very close to it, to persuade the Scottish club to sell. They will need to strengthen significantly this summer, according to to the bookmakers, as they are currently favourites to get relegated in the football betting.

Possible Outgoings

Whilst Kerr is one name being linked to come into the defence, Liam Lindsay is attracting plenty of interest from various clubs. Stoke look to have landed his signature with a move almost completed as of 21st June. The Potters are chasing promotion under Nathan Jones - who implemented an exciting style of play at Luton which has helped them achieve consecutive promotions - after a disappointing first season in the Championship.

Kieffer Moore has caught the eye of numerous clubs during his time at Barnsley and the 26-year-old has been linked with a potential move to Bristol City. Having scored 17 goals in last year’s successful League One promotion campaign, it is likely that the Reds will command a large fee for their striker, especially knowing that Bristol City have sold Lloyd Kelly to Bournemouth for £13 million earlier in the window.

Patience is Key

Throughout the duration of the transfer window, many different suggestions will come to the surface with few often coming to fruition. Although some key names are being linked with possible exits from Oakwell, it appears clear that the club will back Daniel Stendel following the club’s promotion from League One.
There is no doubt the 2018/19 race for the Championship title was both thrilling and dramatic. With Leeds United looking sure to bag it at one point, their tragic late stumble saw Norwich win the league instead. While the football action has ended domestically for now, already fans of the Championship will be looking ahead to next year and who could win the 2019/20 Championship title.

The three teams relegated from the Premiership in the previous season are always fancied, so Huddersfield, Fulham, and Cardiff City will be worth keeping an eye on. Teams like Leeds and Derby County who had strong seasons last year will also be in the mix. But which teams are the dark horses that might surprise us all?


One team that had a solid enough 2018/19 and seem well set to make a tilt for the title are Boro. New Jersey sports betting sites currently peg them around 9th in the overall betting at 16/1. It is a similar story around other online sportsbooks. The players will be keen to not only impress a new manager now that Tony Pulis has left but also erase the memory of last year’s poor finish which ended their playoff hopes. If the nucleus of Pulis’s side can be kept together and defensive solidity and stronger attacking instincts are shown by players, it could be a good year for Boro fans.

Stoke City

For Stoke fans, the season of 2018/19 was one to forget. Before a ball was kicked, they were heavily fancied to make an instant return to the Premier League. That did not work out as planned though and in the end manager Gary Rowett paid the price. Although new manager Nathan Jones didn’t immediately improve things, many think a few new faces over the summer and a clear-out of underperforming players will make a real difference. Jones certainly has the managerial skills to get Stoke challenging for the title and everyone around the club will be desperate to move back into the Premier League. At odds of around 11/1, they are not out of it yet.

Sheffield Wednesday

With promotion guru Steve Bruce in charge, Wednesday could well be dark horses for next year’s Championship trophy. Although they finished 12th last time around, a successful summer in the transfer market to refresh the squad could be all Bruce needs to work his magic. They are currently being given odds of around 14/1 which shows they are not that far down the betting. The strong start made under Bruce’s reign in 2018/19 gives them the perfect platform to build from for next season.

What about Barnsley?!

It would be amazing to think that Barnsley could bag the Championship title in their first season back next year. With Daniel Stendel in charge and a feel-good factor around the club, anything is possible. However, it does seem that the team will have a season establishing themselves again before pushing for this. The 2019/20 Championship is sure to be another exciting one and, like Norwich last year could be won by a team outside of the betting favourites.
Adam Davies might have insisted he is happy to put contract talks to one side so he can focus on leading Barnsley to promotion out of League One this season, but fans will be hoping the club aren't so relaxed about the goalkeeper's contract situation.

The 26-year-old joined Barnsley from Sheffield Wednesday in June 2014, going on to establish himself as a key part of the team and being handed the captaincy at the start of the season. With the Tykes second in League One and within touching distance of securing a return to the Championship, Davies has postponed new contract talks until the summer.

Daniel Stendel's side moved another step closer to sealing promotion with a 2-0 win over Accrington Stanley, with Davies again playing an important part in the Tykes picking up another important three points. The stopper is the sole surviving member of the team that were promoted in 2015/16, and that experience could well be critical in Barnsley getting to the finish line this year. And with international aspirations now in his mind, Davies may feel he needs to be playing Championship football next season at this stage of his career.

Davies, who started his career as a schoolboy with Everton, was first called up to the Wales squad in 2016 without making an appearance. He was named in the Wales squad for their UEFA Nations League clash against Denmark last November, again without making an appearance. The goalkeeper would do his international hopes no harm by leading Barnsley to promotion this season, and Wales head coach Ryan Giggs will be aware of the form of Davies ahead of the national team's Euro 2020 qualifying games, which get underway later this month.

Wales, who are priced at around 7/2 with the latest international football betting odds to top Group E ahead of the likes of Croatia and Slovakia, will be hoping to make a strong start to their qualification campaign this month against Slovakia. Davies may again be called up to that squad, which may come as a welcome distraction from the pressure of a League One promotion push. With Luton three points clear at the top of the league and Sunderland pushing Barnsley all the way, it's looking as though the race for promotion could go down to the wire - and Davies is going to be crucial to the Tykes' hopes.

Should Barnsley go on and seal promotion back to the Championship, one of the first things they need to address at the end of the season is a new contract for Davies. After five years at the club, the goalkeeper deserves to be rewarded for his role in Barnsley's success this year and for his form throughout his time at Oakwell. The problem the club face after allowing their number one's contract to run down is that theirs won't be the only offer Davies receives this summer.