Meet the opposition | Barnsley

13th April 2022
First team
Ben Cabango

As Swansea City prepare for the visit of Barnsley to the Stadium, we take a closer look at the Tykes.

What's their story?

Founded in 1887 as Barnsley St. Peter’s, Friday's opponents were renamed as Barnsley Football Club in 1897.

The Tykes’ most successful spell came in their early days, in which they made two memorable runs in the FA Cup.

In 1910 they reached the final of the historic competition, but narrowly lost out to Newcastle in a replay. However, just two years later, they went one step further and lifted the trophy for the first and only time in the club’s history after they overcame West Brom after another replay.

In modern times, Barnsley have spent most of their time in either the Championship or League One.

They spent one season in the top-flight during 1997-98, but soon hit financial difficulties and were saved from administration in 2002.

More recently, they reached the FA Cup semi-finals in 2008, after conquering Liverpool and Chelsea, but their journey was halted by Cardiff City with a 1-0 defeat.

They are in their third-straight season in the Championship, and they have spent more seasons in the second tier than any other club.

How's their form?

Callum Styles

Improving. Barnsley had won just two games all season prior to February 12, but four victories and three draws since have given them an outside chance of an unlikely escape from the drop.

The Tykes had at one stage appeared to be all-but certain to be playing in League One next season, but their fine recent run has left them eight points behind Reading with six games – one more than the Royals – remaining.

However, their away form has been miserable, with the Yorkshire side picking up just seven points on their travels. That gives them the worst away record in the division.

Who's the boss?

Poya Asbaghi

Poya Asbaghi. Asbaghi, who is Iranian born, went straight into coaching as part of the set up at Swedish side Dalkurd FF in 2014, before becoming the main man just two years later.

His time with the Uppsala-based club saw him guide them to promotion to the second tier for the first time in their history.

In 2017 he moved to Gefle for a short stint, before he made the switch to 18-time Swedish champions IFK Goteborg.

In his three years, he lifted the Swedish Cup in 2020 on the back of guiding them to Europa League qualification a year earlier, before he was appointed Sweden Under-21 manager in 2021. 

Asbaghi had the age-grade side well-placed in a challenging qualification group for the European Championship, before the 36-year-old was appointed the manager of Barnsley a few months into this season, replacing Markus Schopp.

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.

He has missed a large chunk of this season through injury, but he is nearing a return to action.

Who are the key men?

Mads Andersen

In Woodrow's absence, Mads Andersen has taken on the armband.

The centre-back developed in the academy of Brondby IF, who are the third-most successful Danish club.

Since moving to Yorkshire in 2019, the 24-year-old has racked up over 100 appearances and has been an important reliable performer in defence.

Striker Carlton Morris is the top scorer for Barnsley this season with nine goals and three assists to his name.

Morris scored seven goals during the second half of last term as the Tykes reached the play-offs.

Having come through at Norwich, Morris had numerous loan spells - including one working with Russell Martin at MK Dons - before making the permanent move to south Yorkshire.

Barnsley’s creativity has been boosted by the form of FC Metz loanee Amine Bassi.

The attacking midfielder has chipped in with four assists in his 12 Championship appearances this campaign, and bagged an important brace in a recent win over Middlesbrough.