Welcome to the first installment of the 2011/2012 Npower Championship previews right here on footballblog.co.uk. First off I tackle my thoughts on Barnsley, this campaign will mark their fifth consecutive season in the old first division, can they deal with the difficult task and avoid the drop or can they spring a suprise with a new manager in charge…
Barnsley are now an established Championship side who have had low but stable finishes in their last five campaigns. Keith Hill now takes charge of the Tykes, as Mark Robins departed Oakwell at the end of last season, Barnsley finished in 17th place under Robins as he was able to tackle a difficult Championship division. Barnsley however could well have a more gruelling task in 2011/2012, with the league looking more competitive than ever, Hill has it all to do if he wants to carry on the low but stable finishing tradition. On paper Barnsley are one of the weakest sides in the division, but so far Hill has been able to target some reasonable players such as the defensive duo of Rob Edwards and Miles Addison. The strike force of Danny Haynes and Craig Davies will need to find the net on a consistent basis, while Barnsley also has many creative players in the midfield. It could be a difficult season for the Tykes; however unlike in 2010/2011 the defence looks more resilient and with Danny Haynes set to play in his first full season at Oakwell his prowess up front needs to be consistent.
The whole defence will be key for Barnsley, with new additions in Rob Edwards and Miles Addison as well as season campaigners such as Bobby Hassell and Stephen Foster on paper the Tykes have a much stronger defence, they could still concede a high majority of goals, but the back four should be more stable than in previous campaigns. In midfield the central pair of Jacob Butterfield and new signing David Perkins will create plenty of chances for their team mates; Butterfield is a blossoming talent who has established himself to be a key part of the Barnsley side. Meanwhile Perkins is the more creative of the two players, a skilful addition to the squad the 29 year old likes to get forward from midfield, and he could well be difficult to stop for many teams this season. Finally all eyes will be focused on striker Danny Haynes as the source for goals, the lightning quick forward proved to be a very shrewd signing in the January transfer window, scoring six goals in 10/11 Barnsley fans will be hoping he can score more than that in this campaign.
Manager – Keith Hill
With Mark Robins departing from Oakwell at the end of the 2010/2011 campaign after a two year stay, Barnsley went in search for a new boss and they eventually identified Keith Hill as the ideal replacement for Robins. After a successful time in charge of League 1 Rochdale, it was time for Hill to head for pastures new, with League 2 promotion on his C.V the new manager of Barnsley has certainly got plenty of experience; however managing in League 2 is a completely different task to managing a team in the Championship. Saying that he did very well as the manager of Rochdale, and adding a couple of players from his former side and claiming plenty of other signings aswell, it will be a very difficult task to manage in this division but it’s a task that Hill and co can conquer.
Ins and Outs
Ins – Craig Davies(Chesterfield), David Perkins(Colchester), Matt Done(Rochdale), Scott Wiseman(Rochdale), Jim McNulty(Brighton), Rob Edwards(Blackpool), Miles Addison(Derby)
Outs – Hugo Colace(Estudiantes Tecos), Liam Dickinson(Plymouth), Jason Shackell(Derby), Matt Hill(Blackpool), Steven Bennett(Released), Martin Devaney(Released)
With a new manager in charge in Keith Hill he has a lot of work to do with Barnsley, now this being their fifth consecutive season in this division there time may well be up. With the Npower Championship looking more difficult for the likes of Barnsley, a season of depressing losses could well encounter for most of the campaign. Even though the defence is much better on paper, they really need Danny Haynes to hit top form, if not they could well struggle to score goals, Barnsley could well be heading in the wrong direction as their stable time in the Championship could well become derailed. Prediction – 23rd