The latter stages of this season looks like it will have a very different feel to it compared to last season if you are a Barnsley supporter.
At this point last season, Barnsley were sat 22nd in the Championship, fighting relegation as Gerhard Struber continued to get his feet under the table at Oakwell.
Fast forward a year, and not only is the threat of relegation essentially non-existent for the Tykes, but a play-off push could be on the cards if they manage to find some consistency. Barnsley sit 13th in the league table, nine points off the playoffs with a game in hand.
Barnsley fans obviously have Valerien Ismael to thank for an impressive campaign thus far, but one man who also deserves credit is Struber. If he hadn’t have guided them to vital wins over Nottingham Forest and Brentford in the final stages of last season, then Barnsley would be in League One and wouldn’t be fighting for a top-half finish in the Championship.
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After a poor start to this season, Struber left Oakwell in October to become the new manager of New York Red Bulls.
Red Bulls met a “significant contractual release clause” to appoint the Austrian, with CEO Dane Murphy bound to have played a part due to his connections with the MLS.
So far, Struber has managed only one game in charge of the Red Bulls. This came in the MLS Cup Playoffs, where they lost 3-2 to the Columbus Crew back in November.
The MLS returns at the end of this month, with Struber looking to guide his side to a successful campaign.
He will be looking back on his time at Oakwell, and Barnsley’s season so far, with some pride.