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?

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.

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Thomas Wilkinson

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