After only 10 months and 44 games in charge, the decision makers at Oakwell decided David Flitcroft was no longer the man to lead Barnsley in their fight against relegation. Following their 3-0 home reverse to Birmingham City, Flitcroft was relieved of his services. Six points adrift of safety and with the worst defensive record in the league, whoever is the man to take over the reins in Yorkshire will face a daunting task to ensure The Tykes are not plying their trade in League One come August.
As we approach the busy festive period, can be expected that the board will act swiftly to find their new man. Here are the early front runners to be the third man in charge at Oakwell in less than a year.
Danny Wilson (4/6 BetVictor)
The man out in front at this stage is former player and manager Wilson. Following his move to the club in 1993 he played 77 times for The Tykes, including one season as player manager in 94/95. Wilson is fondly remembered and lauded in Barnsley as he is the only man to guide the club to the top division of English football in their entire history. Although their Premier League adventure was short lived it was widely conceived as one of the greatest times in the club’s history.
With nearly 1000 games under his belt he certainly has the experience needed for the job. However, following disappointing spells at MK Dons, Bristol City and most recently Sheffield United some fans are uneasy that their former hero has what it takes at this point in his career.
Michael Appleton (5/2 SkyBet)
The man who appears to throw his name in the hat for every managerial job in the country appears to be in the race at Oakwell. The former Preston midfielder has already held three managerial posts in a career which is yet to hit it’s 80th game. Following his relegation from Portsmouth in 2011/2012, he went back on his word and left the club to take over the reins at Blackpool. After only 12 games at Blackpool he moved on to Blackburn where only 15 games later he was handed his P45.
Despite his distinctly average record as a manger he seems to be an early contender. If he was to get the job it is unclear whether he would be able to, (a) Keep them in the division and (b) Last the season.
Micky Mellon (12/5 Stan James)
The former Fleetwood manager will be the man in the dugout when Barnsley next take the field against Brighton & Hove Albion. Flitcroft’s assistant, who came to the club along the former manager will be given the chance to firmly put his name in the discussion if he is to pick up results quickly. As proved by Kavanagh at Carlisle, if a caretaker can change results quickly, he may be given the nod for the long term post.
At his only managerial job so far he turned then Conference North outfit, Fleetwood Town, into a league club for the first time in their history. A man whom is extremely highly regarded in Non-league, lacks the experience in the top divisions and could be seen as a major risk if he is the next permanent manager at Oakwell.
Neil Redfearn (5/1 Coral)
A real Barnsley legend, playing almost 300 times for the club. Neil Redfearn was the driving force behind Barnsley’s historic promotion to the top division in 1996/97. Redfearn was The Tykes captain and also chipped in with 17 goals, when in the Premiership he also contributed with 10 goals, including the first top division goal in the club’s history.
Following unsuccessful managerial roles at Scarborough and Northwich Victoria, he is now first team coach at neighbours Leeds. Many fans feel he lacks the experience required and would be foolish to tarnish his reputation and legacy at Oakwell with a poor stint as manager. This appointment would certainly get fans onside quickly but would be a massive risk with the predicament the club currently find themselves in.
Chris Wilder (6/1 Paddy Power)
The current Oxford United manager is a man in demand. Following his side’s superb start to the season, which has seen them top League Two, several clubs appear to be sniffing around the former Halifax manager, who ironically was given the Halifax job over Redfearn. Wilder has guided Oxford from the conference to perennial play off challengers.
With Portsmouth having asked for permission to speak to Wilder, it may not be too long till he is in another job. Again the main question mark that hangs over Wilder’s head is his lack of experience in the top three divisions. Although going well currently, it still may be too early for the jump up divisions for the former Rotherham defender.
Mike Phelan (12/1 Coral)
The man who claims to have managed Manchester United for the last five years is now looking to step out and go it alone in the world of management. If he wishes to lay any credence to the fact he has been managing one of the world’s biggest clubs, then keeping Barnsley up would be a smart move. After being linked to several jobs since his departure from Old Trafford, it appears Phelan is ready for a challenge. However, after coming so close to the Wigan job in the summer, The DW Stadium appears to be a more likely destination for Ferguson’s old right hand man to begin his solo career.
(All odds are correct upon date of publishing)
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