Michael Duff has insisted all Barnsley’s loan players will remain part of his plans, despite an English Football League rule meaning at least one will miss out on the squad each game.
Barnsley are sat in a promising position in their bid to return to the Championship – currently sitting 6th with at least two games in hand on those sides above them.
Their form of late has been brilliant, with six wins coming from their last seven games, including four consecutive wins heading into the weekend’s game against 15th place Bristol Rovers.
However, Duff is soon to find himself with a selection headache, albeit it a positive one, with six loanees currently at the club and EFL rules mean that a matchday squad can only have a maximum of five. The club currently have Josh Martin, Slobodan Tedic, Max Watters, Harry Isted, Bobby Thomas and Ziyad Larkeche all on loan at Oakwell.
With Watters now available after a three-game suspension, Duff is now back up to full strength with his six loan players, but he insisted that all will remain part of the squad, saying:
“It will change from game to game. We won’t always get it right. It’s the unfortunate thing of having six loans but we needed the cover in January because we had so many injuries.
“If someone is not on the bench at the weekend it doesn’t mean they won’t play this season because football changes quickly.”
Duff now is in the envious position of many managers where he’ll be forced to leave out one of his players, whilst other clubs in the division scramble for depth and quality in the run-in.
In Barnsley’s latest outing against 5th placed Derby County which ended 4-1 to the Tykes, Isted and Thomas were the only two of the group of loanees to start, with Martin and Tedic coming off the bench, whilst Larkeche was an unused substitute, and Watters served the final game of his suspension.
A main factor in the 45-year-old’s decision ahead of this weekend could be the fitness of Watters, who only returned to training this week following a toe injury, with a chance he may be allowed longer to fully recover.
Barnsley travel to Bristol Rovers on Saturday, with kick-off at 3pm.