Much has been expected of Barnsley following their heroics of getting to the Championship play-offs last season, so their start to the 2021-22 campaign could be seen as a bit of an underwhelming one.
The Tykes have only lost once which was at home to Luton, but three draws and a win has seen Markus Schopp’s side park themselves in 14th position at the first international break.
There is room for improvement but it was always going to be a tough job for the Austrian to follow in Valerien Ismael’s footsteps after he did such a good job at Oakwell.
With a long trip to Bournemouth on the horizon next weekend, let’s look at two dilemmas Schopp could be looking at ahead of clashing with Scott Parker’s side.
Whether to throw the deadline day signings straight in
After doing most of their business before the Championship season began, Barnsley fans were growing slightly impatient at the lack of transfer in the month of August.
Things changed on deadline day though as in came Manchester City’s young defensive midfielder Claudio Gomes on loan, and two days later the EFL gave clearance for young Bayern Munich left-wing-back Remy Vita to join up with the Tykes.
With Barnsley struggling to string wins together, Schopp may be tempted to throw both of his new men into the mix for the away trip to the Cherries, but it may come too soon for the young pair, especially with both Romal Palmer and Callum Styles being regulars in the positions they’ve come in to battle for.
20 quiz questions about Barnsley’s 2021/22 season so far – Can you score full marks?
Who replaces Liam Kitching
The referee may not have seen it last Saturday, but cameras picked up on Tykes defender Liam Kitching sticking his head into the back of Chuks Aneke’s from a set piece, and the former Forest Green man has been banned for three matches.
Kitching has been solid for Barnsley this season after only making two appearances in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign, so it will be a hard decision for Schopp to replace him for three matches.
There has been two centre-backs on the bench recently for Barnsley – the more experienced Finn in Aapo Halme and young Jasper Moon.
The latter has come off the bench three times whereas Halme has twice, although Halme has deputised in a midfield position.
Even though he lacks experience, it’s more likely that Moon will come in for Kitching but it’s still a big decision for Schopp to make and one he will have to ponder.