Meet the opposition | Barnsley

14th May 2021
First team

As Swansea City prepare themselves for a play-off double-header against Barnsley, we take a closer look at the Tykes.

What’s their story?

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?

Daryl Dike

Excellent. Since the Swans win at Oakwell in January Barnsley have lost just four league games, and at one stage produced a 12-match unbeaten run that thrust them into the play-off hunt.

Their competitiveness across the season is underlined by the fact the Swans were the only team to complete a league double over the Yorkshire club.

Who’s the boss?

Valerien Ismael

Valerien Ismael. The Frenchman was appointed as Gerhard Struber’s successor on a three-year contract, and has superbly led Barnsley to the play-offs when many had tipped them for another battle with relegation.

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 after the departure of head coach Daniel Stendel last season.

The 26-year-old has been a stand-out performer for Barnsley, and his return from injury for the first leg is a big boost for the Reds.

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?

Cauley Woodrow

Cauley Woodrow has been a consistent scorer for Barnsley ever since joining from Fulham, and it has proved the case again this term with the striker having 14 goals in all competitions, while also weighing in with five assists.

He has been well backed up by the exploits of January arrival Daryl Dike, who has scored nine goals in 20 appearances during his spell on loan from Orlando City.

Carlton Morris has caught the eye since his move from MK Dons, while Callum Brittain and Callum Styles have enjoyed excellent seasons.