Barnsley caretaker boss Martin Devaney insists this focus is on the short term despite the permanent Tykes’ head coach role potentially being on offer to him if he does well between now and the end of the season, speaking to the club’s media team.
The South Yorkshire outfit parted company with Poya Asbaghi on Sunday following confirmation of their relegation to the third tier on Friday night, suffering a 2-1 defeat against local rivals Huddersfield Town in a game they needed to win to give themselves a chance of catching Reading.
Despite a spirited comeback late on though, this was to no avail and the club are now facing the reality of plying their trade in the third tier of English football next term.
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This is a real blow to the Tykes after managing to climb to fifth place under Valerien Ismael last term and were only prevented from enjoying a Wembley trip by Swansea City who secured a narrow 2-1 aggregate win in the play-off semi-finals back in May.
Losing Ismael, former captain Alex Mowatt and previous talisman Daryl Dike, the second-tier outfit have been unable to find adequate replacements for the trio and have been punished because of that.
Former player Devaney could potentially come in permanently to change their fortunes if he makes a good impression on the Tykes’ board during the final two games – but Devaney is not focused on the bigger picture just yet.
Speaking to the club’s media team on this subject, he said: “I’m just concentrating on the here and now.
“It’s a football club that I love; it’s a club that I had six great years playing as a player, even more as a coach. I can confidently say that I’m a Barnsley boy now and the fans appreciate that.
“I’ve done many roles in the academy and worked my way up. I’m fully prepared for this opportunity, I’ve worked towards it and, now I’ve got the opportunity, I’m going to grab it with both hands and, most importantly, enjoy the experience.”
Devaney won’t want to get too ahead of himself considering this is his first senior head coach role – and he will need to get points on the board if he wants to have any chance of taking the club forward next season.
Some would argue performances are more important – but his ability to win points will be what matters in their quest to get back to the second tier at the first time of asking next term – so the next two games could be crucial for the 41-year-old and the complexion of his managerial career.
The pressure is off to an extent with the club already down so that will help the Tykes’ caretaker boss – but they have two tough games remaining as they host a Preston North End side who will be desperate to bounce back from their 4-1 derby defeat against Blackburn Rovers before travelling to The Hawthorns to face West Bromwich Albion.
In fairness though, these are two sides that have little to play for with no chance of promotion or relegation so there’s every chance the South Yorkshire club could take advantage of that and finish the season on a high.
This could give them some much-needed momentum going into next season.