Barnsley step away from their surprising top-six charge when they turn their attention to the FA Cup this weekend.
The Yorkshire outfit have been in outstanding form since the arrival of Valerien Ismael, taking 30 points from a possible 48 available in the Championship under the guidance of the Frenchman.
Barnsley will be hoping for an 11th victory with Ismael in the dugout when they host League Two outfit Tranmere Rovers in the third-round of the FA Cup at Oakwell.
Victory against the Merseysiders would send the Tykes into round fourth for just the third time in the previous 12 seasons and continue their brilliant recent run of results.
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One man that has been key to Barnsley’s recent upturn in fortunes is Alex Mowatt. The Tykes captain has already scored four times in 25 appearances this season, including in the recent win at Rotherham, although the former Leeds United man is out of contract at the end of the season.
However, Ismael was asked about the skipper’s contract situation in his pre-match press conference, and admitted that the club will do everything in order to extend Mowatt’s deal at Oakwell.
“It is not only my (major) priority, but the club’s. I think for the club it is the most important deal to do in the next few weeks,” the Barnsley boss told the Yorkshire Evening Post.
“He is a big part for our success. Alex knows as well that he has a big standing in the team and club. I think both sides want to stay together and I think we must find a solution.
“I am sure we will try everything to keep Alex. Alex is the face of the team and the club and the captain of the team.
“We are working on it. I phoned and spoke with him (on Wednesday) and this is now our best purpose.”
It’s not ideal letting any player enter the final months of their deal, let alone your captain and one of their key assets.
However, with Mowatt playing some of the best football in his career, and Barnsley in excellent form themselves, it’s tough to see the midfielder playing anywhere but Oakwell at the moment.
With that in mind, I fully expect the two parties to come to an agreement – which will see Mowatt remain in South Yorkshire.