Meet the opposition | Barnsley

23rd November 2021
First team

As Swansea City get set to take on Barnsley at Oakwell, we take a closer look at the Tykes.

What's their story?

Barnsley have been something of a mainstay in the Championship since their promotion from League One in 2006.

The Tykes have since been relegated back to the third tier twice, only to quickly gain promotion again.

The Yorkshire club enjoyed a superb campaign last term and managed to secure a place in the play-offs, finishing 5th, before being eliminated by the Swans over two legs.

The club’s greatest success came in 1912, when they beat West Brom 1-0 to win the FA Cup. Barnsley have also recently won the Football League Trophy in 2016 with a 3-2 win over Oxford United.

How’s their form?


Barnsley currently sit 23rd in the Championship, with only Derby County sitting below them in the league following the Rams’ 21-points worth of deductions.

The Tykes go into the game with the Swans having won just two games this season, having been defeated 11 times.

Barnsley’s two wins came against Derby and Coventry City, but eight losses from their last 10 matches have seen them fall into the relegation zone, four points away from safety.

Who’s the boss?

Poya Asbaghi

Following the departure of Markus Schopp, Poya Asbaghi was recently appointed as the new manager of the club and takes charge for the first time against the Swans.

Asbaghi was born in Iran but fled the country with his family at one-years-old, growing up in Sweden.

The 36-year-old began his career with then Swedish third division side Dalkurd FF, guiding the club to promotion to the second tier for the first time in their history.

He would move on to Gefle IF and then top-tier side - and two-time UEFA Cup winners - IFK Goteborg.

In his first season the club would finish 11th before claiming qualification for the Europa League the following camppaign, earning Asbaghi a nomination for Allsvenskan manager of the year.

In 2020, Asbaghi lifted his first piece of silverware, defeating Malmo in extra-time of the Swedish Cup final.

Asbaghi was then appointed manager of Sweden Under-21s and had them well-placed in a challenging European qualifying group before moving to Barnsley.

Who’s the captain?

Cauley Woodrow

Barnsley skipper Cauley Woodrow joined the club on loan from Fulham in 2018 and made the move permanent the following January.

He has been a key figure ever since, proving a reliable goalscorer but also a forward with great energy and work rate.

Woodrow began his career in non-league with Luton - making his debut at 16 - before joining the Cottagers' academy in 2011.

He made his Premier League debut against Cardiff during the 2013-14 season and netted in a draw with Crystal Palace.

Loan spells with Southend, Burton and Bristol City followed, before he found a home at Barnsley.

He helped the Tykes gain promotion to the Championship and has been top scorer in each of the last two seasons.

Who are the key men?

Michal Helik

Michal Helik joined the Tykes in 2020 and immediately cemented himself into the Barnsley backline.

Helik previously played for Polish sides Ruch Chorzow and Cracovia before joining the Championship side in the 2020.

Helik became a Poland International earlier this year, making his debut in a World Cup qualifier against Hungary in March 2021.

Wing-back Callum Brittain was one of the stars of last season's run to the play-offs, with he and Callum Styles catching the eye in a high-tempo, high-pressing approach.

Manchester City academy product Devante Cole - son of former Newcastle and Manchester United striker Andrew - joined the club from Motherwell on a free transfer in the summer and has one goal from nine appearances this term.