Meet the opposition | Barnsley

18th December 2020
First team

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

What's their story?

Callum Styles

Barnsley have been absent from the Premier League since 1998. The Reds have spent most of their time since then dipping in and out of League One and the Championship, and pulled off an incredible escape from relegation last term.

Barnsley’s highest finish in the Championship since the end of their stint in the Premier League was when they finished fourth in 1999-2000, losing 4-2 to Ipswich Town in the play-off final. They won the Football League Trophy in 2016.

How's their form?

Cauley Woodrow

On the up. Barnsley have climbed to 12th in the Championship table on the back of a run of three straight wins.

The Tykes suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat at home to Bournemouth, but responded with a fine away win against Wycombe.

They have since added triumphs over Sheffield Wednesday and Preston, moving them to within four points of the play-off spots.

Who's the boss?

Valerien Ismael. The Frenchman was recently appointed as Gerhard Struber’s successor on a three-year contract, with the latter leaving Oakwell to take on a new role with New York Red Bulls.

During his playing career, Ismaël enjoyed spells with Strasbourg, Crystal Palace, Lens, Werder Bremen, Hannover 96 and Bayern Munich.

The former centre-half has vast managerial experience, most notably leading Austrian side LASK to their first-ever Champions League play-off. Ismaël has also had stints in charge of Hannover 96, VfL Wolfsburg II, F.C. Nürnberg, VfL Wolfsburg and Apollon Smyrnis.

Who's the captain?


Alex Mowatt

Former Leeds United midfielder Mowatt joined the Reds in 2017, and was handed the captain’s armband last year after the departure of head coach Daniel Stendel.

The 25-year-old has been a stand out performer for Barnsley, most notably picking up their in-house Player of the Month award three times in 2018.

Known for his work-rate and creativity, Mowatt went on to lead the Tykes to safety last year, picking up the Player and Players' Player of the Year awards at the end of the campaign.

Who are the key men?

Conor Chaplin

Forward Conor Chaplin has enjoyed some real success in the red jersey, despite a slow start, scoring eight goals in 11 games at the tail end of 2019. He has two goals to his name this term.

Star striker Cauley Woodrow, who signed from Fulham in 2018, was a key figure in the Tykes’ promotion back to the Championship, after finishing that season tied with Kieffer Moore as top scorer on 19 goals, and continues to be so with eight goals in 2020-21.

Callum Styles is a threat from deep, having scored three goals from the left wing-back position.