Meet the opposition | Barnsley

28th December 2019
First team

As Swansea City prepare to host Barnsley on Sunday, we take a closer look at the Tykes.

What's their story?

Alex Mowatt

Barnsley gained automatic promotion back to the Championship at the end of last season as runners-up in League One.

This marked an immediate return to the second tier after they had been relegated the prior season, despite the goals of former Swansea striker Oli McBurnie.

In recent years, the Tykes have bounced between the Championship and League One a number of times, and won the Football League Trophy at Wembley in 2016.

Formed in 1887, Barnsley’s solitary season in the top-flight came during the 1997-98 campaign. They were FA Cup winners in 1912.

How's their form?

Barnsley Conor Chaplin

On the up. Barnsley’s recent wins over QPR and Millwall doubled their victory tally for the season, helping the Tykes to climb off the foot of the table.

At one stage they went 17 games without picking up three points before a valuable home win over Hull stopped the rot.

They had continued to find points hard to come by, but back-to-back wins – plus an excellent draw against leaders West Brom - have given a real shot in the arm to their hopes of avoiding an immediate return to League One.

Who’s the boss?

Barnsley Gerhard Struber

Gerhard Struber. The 42-year-old left Austrian club Wolfsberger AC to join the Tykes, having guided the Bundesliga outfit to a third-place finish and Europa League qualification last term.

The former midfielder spent most of his playing days on the books of Austria Salzburg (now Red Bull Salzburg) and was capped by Austria at under-21 level.

After retiring he worked in the Salzburg academy from 2007 to 2017, aside from one brief spell away from the club, and was also assistant first-team coach at one stage.

Left to take up the reins of FC Liefering in the Austrian second tier before getting his move to Wolfsberger.

Struber had them third in the Bundesliga, while they had taken four points from four games in their Europa League group, at the time of his exit.

Who are the key men?

Caulay Woodrow

The Tykes signed forward Cauley Woodrow from then Premier League outfit Fulham in the summer of 2018 and he has proved an excellent addition.

Woodrow scored 19 goals last season which proved key as the Reds secured automatic promotion back to the Championship, and he has nine to his name so far this term.

Midfielder Alex Mowatt has been another to impress in a touch campaign, making 22 appearances so far this season having been a key figure in recent seasons.

Another one to watch is Conor Chaplin, a diminutive forward who became the Tykes’ 10th signing of the summer. He made the switch from Coventry City having previously came through Portsmouth’s academy, and has been in goalscoring form of late, netting a hat-trick against QPR.