, Barnsley confirm out-of-favour defender is back in club’s plans

Barnsley confirm out-of-favour defender is back in club’s plans

Barnsley head coach Valerien Ismael has confirmed that Toby Sibbick will be part of his squad for the rest of the season.

The defender returned to the Championship club this week from a miserable loan spell in Belgium with KV Oostende.

Sibbick, 21, was set to spend the full season away from Oakwell, but was recalled after failing to make a single appearance.

Having fallen out of favour under previous boss Gerhard Struber, the change of chief in the Reds’ dugout offers new hope for the youngster.

Speaking to the media ahead of Barnsley’s Boxing Day derby with Huddersfield Town, Ismael revealed that Sibbick would “stay with us” and be part of his plans.

“I saw some tapes of him and he is a young guy, but with a lot of experience and he has played a lot of games at a high level,” said the Frenchman.

“I think it is maybe a good time now and time for him to integrate and know the principles.

George Wood/Getty Images Sport

“We have two weeks to work with him and he started today in training and we will work with him every day to improve and integrate him.

“It is a new possibility for us to get more flexibility and quality in our squad.”

The clean slate will be welcome news for Sibbick, who has had ups and downs since joining Barnsley from AFC Wimbledon in 2019.

He was a regular under Daniel Stendel at the beginning of the 2019-20 season, but when the manager was sacked he fell out of the first-team picture.

He was loaned to Scottish Premiership club Heart of Midlothian, where Stendel had now taken charge, in January, but he only made two appearances before the suspension of the season.

After an unsuccessful European move, Sibbick returns to a club with a new head coach, a new vibrancy and some very good form.

Since taking charge, Ismael has won eight of his 13 matches, elevating them from a certain relegation battle to a comfortable 13th place, five points shy of the play-offs.

They lost their previous game at Swansea City last weekend, but will look to make amends on Boxing Day when Huddersfield visit for an all-Yorkshire affair.

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