Luton Town, Barnsley and Charlton Athletic were all promoted from League One last season. We look at how Barnsley did it, what they will bring to the Championship and how they can strengthen over the summer.


The 2018-19 story…


Nothing changed, yet everything did.


Barnsley began 2018-19 with largely the same squad that suffered relegation from the Championship, yet they bounced back automatically.

Top scorer Cauley Woodrow had a very positive impact after joining from Fulham while fellow recruit Mike-Steven Bahre showed creativity in attack, but the main difference was in the coaching.

Daniel Stendel took charge in the summer and, rather than demand a full overhaul, he saw the technical talent in the squad and looked at how to amend the work the team did without the ball, which had been a huge problem in the previous campaign.


Thanks to Stendel’s work, the Reds boasted the best defensive record in the division with Ethan Pinnock and Liam Lindsay forming an excellent centre-back pairing – they went a whole season undefeated at home, too.


What they’ll bring…


Barnsley will have one of the best co-ordinated pressing structures in the Championship next season.


They set up with a 4-2-2-; the idea is that the attacking quartet, plus Cameron McGeehan breaking forward from midfield, will force clearances to leave Alex Mowatt with the space to dictate with his fine left foot.


In transition, we are likely to see the front two, Woodrow and Bahre, drop deeper to vacate space for wide forwards Jacob Brown and Mamadou Thiam to break into.


Barnsley players know their roles and responsibilities inside out, yet equally the quality of movement makes them very difficult for the opposition to second guess – that tells us that the players are being led by a very, very high standard of coaching.


Summer targets…


Barnsley have a young squad, so the likes of McGeehan and Pinnock will attract interest from wealthier Championship competitors due to their high sell-on value.



Ideally, the Tykes would keep their best young players for another year but not at any cost: it is important they handle contract negotiations better than they did in their previous spell in the Championship, so if talks stall with a key player, they receive the necessary fee to sustain themselves at this level.


In terms of recruitment, the full-back positions could be areas to add depth – SC Paderborn’s Lukas Boeder and Dundee United’s Nathan Ralph have both been linked.


Goalkeeper Adam Davies could be poached by Stoke and the skipper may need replacing; Nottingham Forest’s Adam Smith could be an intriguing option.


Otherwise, this squad is more than good enough to compete in the Championship under current management – the less change, the better.

Barnsley Odds:

To Be Relegated

To Be Promoted

Odds are correct at the time of posting

Join the discussion