Despite the club soaring into the play-off spots under Valerien Ismael just a year earlier, the departure of the boss and some of the side’s key players led to them sinking down the division. They never really got going and even after a slight upturn in fortune after the January window, the side couldn’t quite pull out of the drop zone.
Barnsley then need to prepare for at least one campaign back in the third tier of English football – and there is plenty that needs to be sorted if they want to think about getting back into the Championship.
Here then, are three steps they’ll need to take this offseason in order to get a promotion straight back up.
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1. Appoint a manager with League One or Championship experience
The Tykes took a risk with Valerien Ismael and it paid off. That though might have been a flash in the pan – their next two managers, Markus Schopp and Poya Asbaghi, didn’t work.
They can’t always keep searching afar for untested managers to give a chance to. Right now, they could do with changing tack entirely and finding someone who is either up and coming in the EFL with Football League experience or bring in a boss who has sealed either a third tier promotion in the past or has done well in the Championship.
The current favourite for the job is Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and that might not be a bad move. The current Burton boss took the Brewers into the third tier in the first place and has continued to make some progress with the side on a limited budget. Given a slightly bigger club, he could certainly have plenty of success.
He’s the right kind of manager they should be looking at right now – and appointing the right man should be their first step this summer.
2. Add some creativity to their attack – or at least bring Amine Bassi back
Since Amine Bassi came into the Barnsley squad, the side were transformed.
The on-loan star managed seven goal contributions in just 15 league outings. The Tykes looked much brighter going forward and he helped the rest of the side to improve and brought them up to his level. He was impressive in the second tier, so there is a claim to be made that he could be one of the best in League One if he ends up back at Barnsley.
The likelihood of that happening though is slim – so the club need to bring in another creative outlet to both help them create chances and score them. Again, it is easier said than done, but if they can find another player like him then it could really help them in the third tier.
They do have goals in their squad – via Cauley Woodrow and Carlton Morris if they stay – but they just need the production, so need to find someone to give them that service.
3. Clear out the deadwood in the side
Barnsley played 34 different players in the Championship over the course of the season – and they need to whittle it down in order to have a tight-knit group of players all working for the cause.
There will be plenty of players in that unit who are not up to the standard required or are taking a wage without really offering the Tykes anything. There might not be buyers for all of them but at least offer them out and sort the squad out once the new manager comes in. If they can’t ship them out permanently, then at least a loan could be worthwhile.
That would enable the new boss to then bring in his own players that he wants to feature in the squad. With a squad so big though, there is not a lot of wiggle room for new signings right now.
Barnsley then need to get rid of those who are surplus to requirements – and hold onto as many of their best players as they can.