Barnsley’s continued rise up the Championship table and into the play-off positions has been unexpected yet fully deserved.
The Tykes currently occupy fifth place and sit within the much-desired top six by five points.
The youthful squad that Valerien Ismael has at his disposal almost instantly helped the Frenchman implement his high-pressing style that generated so much success at LASK Linz.
January was Ismael’s first opportunity to add to his squad and one name he brought in was Daryl Dike from Orlando City – a rather unknown entity on arrival.
Arriving on deadline day, it remained unseen what role Dike would play under Ismael. Barnsley were on an incredible run that brought them from the brink of relegation to the cusp of the play-offs, with the addition of Dike set to give the Yorkshire club an extra dimension going forward.
In eight starts thus far, the American International has scored five times in six Barnsley wins.
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Form that has seen the club break into the top six and believe that promotion is actually attainable.
However, for all the positives that an exciting loan deal brings to the club, they eventually have to return, and that will be what Barnsley will be keen to address.
Here we take a look at three Daryl Dike alternatives that Barnsley should consider if they can’t get a permanent deal over the line….
Perhaps the most sought-after individual this summer will be Luke Jephcott.
The Plymouth Argyle frontman is enjoying a prolific season with Plymouth Argyle, and is rightfully being considered by a whole host of Championship clubs.
The 21-year-old has 16 goals this season and has earned the reputation of being a natural goalscorer. However, he is not confined to just his goals and offers a lot more to his Plymouth teammates.
Jephcott has the ability to drop in and link play, possessing an incredible technical ability. Equally, he makes smart runs in behind the defence to either get the ball himself, or make space for his strike partner.
Jephcott works tirelessly for his team as well – an aspect that will particularly please Ismael and suit his style of play.
The youthful talent that Barnsley possess needs to be balanced with experienced heads who can motivate, inspire and constantly perform to an expected level.
Therefore, Charlie Wyke may be deemed a suitable acquisition for the Tykes. The forward has scored 15 goals in 2021 for Sunderland and is in the race for the division’s golden boot.
In addition to posing a physical presence in Sunderland’s front-line, he is someone who works relentlessly out of possession to ensure that defences never have a moment’s peace.
His work rate, personal drive and physicality, are three elements to his game that would help him succeed in the higher division, and it seems likely that a move to the Championship is on the horizon.
Similarly, Luton Town’s James Collins has earned the reputation of being one of the hardest working strikers in the division.
The Republic of Ireland international sees his contract run out in summer and with the Hatters seemingly favouring January signing Elijah Adebayo, a number of Championship clubs are reportedly monitoring his situation at Luton.
The Coventry-born forward has risen up from League two with Luton and has proved himself each year, but Adebayo’s instant form has seen Collins drop down the pecking order. The 30-year-old has seven goals to his name in 26 starts this season, including the winner at Oakwell on the opening day of the season, and managed to net 14 times last year.
As a forward, Collins’ physical attributes allow him to hold the ball up and link the play, but he also likes to make darting runs to obtain possession in wide areas.
He is again a player who will add experience to a young Barnsley squad and is the definition of defending from the front.