Five contenders to be the next Barnsley manager

Gabriel Sutton by Gabriel Sutton / 08 May 2018, 09:13

Barnsley’s 4-1 defeat at Derby County on Sunday confirmed their relegation to League One and by extension, the departure of head coach Jose Morais.

It promises to be a big re-building job, on and off the field, so the club needs a strong character to lead them through it.

Who is up to the task? The Sack Race investigates…

Mick McCarthy

Why he should get the job:

He’ll galvanize the club. Older generations will remember McCarthy, Barnsley born and bred, for his 272 games for the club during the late seventies and early eighties as a no-nonsense central defender. Since then, the relationship between him and the club has remained strong; following the unfortunate passing of Tykes legend Norman Rimmington a year ago, McCarthy talked at the funeral while Ipswich manager.

For various reasons, Barnsley are lacking leaders on and off the field, but McCarthy’s arrival would play a big part in solving that problem and re-building bridges with supporters.

Why he shouldn’t:

McCarthy has often been a 4-4-2 disciple and although he veered away from that template slightly in his last couple of seasons at Ipswich, he still tried to keep two traditional forwards on the pitch. That could prove problematic at Oakwell, where questions could be asked of the midfield’s capability to dominate with fewer numbers; to the extent that fans haven’t argued when striker Oli McBurnie was shoehorned out wide.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

Then again, the current squad could look very different in August and when a manager of Super Mick’s pedigree is available, any League One club should go all out for him.

Stuart McCall

Why he should get the job:

McCall is a likable, good-humoured character who endears himself to many. Those people skills helped him manage internal relations at Bradford City and keep fans onside, which will be an important part of the job for the new Barnsley boss.

The Scot typically encourages his full-backs to push high up the pitch and that approach could get the best out of strong runner Jason McCarthy, who has been controversially frozen out at times.

Why he shouldn’t:

The previous season’s play-off finalists don't suffer six straight defeats, as Bradford did under McCall, unless something goes badly wrong. While most believed that something to be a lack of investment, McCall’s sceptics suggest that his likable demeanour is not exclusively a good thing and maybe the 53-year-old was more trusting in certain players than their performances merited. After relegation, Barnsley’s players cannot be afforded any preferential treatment.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

A nice guy with a respectable record, but we reckon Barnsley should look at other targets first.

Uwe Rosler

Why he should get the job:

One imagines Barnsley will target a top six berth; if not in 2018/19 then the season after. Rosler is a man well-versed in reaching that objective, with three of his last four managerial stints leading to a play-off finish.

The German guided Brentford to third in League One in 2012-13, then took an out-of-sorts Wigan side to the Championship play-offs via an FA Cup semi-final, before guiding Fleetwood Town to the League One play-offs after taking over a week before the 2016-17 campaign. The former Manchester City star has achieved all the above by staying true to his possession principles.

Why he shouldn’t:

Although former head coach Jose Morais is an honourable man, his quiet demeanour conveyed, accurately or not, a lack of passion; Uwe Rosler has similar mannerisms and there’s a possibility that Barnsley fans might struggle to relate to managers who don’t show the same outward emotion that they do. Rosler is a process-driven coach whose controlled faith in his philosophy sometimes outweighs pragmatism, which might partly explain why his tenures at Wigan and Fleetwood ended badly.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

A decent record, but we’re just not sure this would be the right fit.

Mark Warburton

Why he should get the job:

Barnsley have a history of producing quality, ball-playing centre-backs, with John Stones being the most obvious example. Warburton, who encourages defenders to be brave in possession, could help the development of Ethan Pinnock, one of the few Tykes players to come out of 2017/18 with some credit. There are also a lot of midfielders in this squad, such as Brad Potts and George Moncur, who might relish the creative freedom Warbs typically affords his players.

Why he shouldn’t:

Failure to keep more than one clean sheet from their final 19 games was a big part of the reason why Barnsley were relegated; Nottingham Forest though were themselves prone to defensive capitulations under Warburton, conceding two or more in 17 of his 34 games in charge. The 55-year-old’s appointment therefore, wouldn’t necessarily mean an improvement in organization.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

If he can learn to find a bit more balance to his sides, Warburton should be a contender for the job.

Simon Grayson

Why he should get the job:

Grayson’s League One promotion record is second to none. He has already guided Blackpool, Huddersfield, Leeds and Preston to the Championship and kept the Lilywhites in a stable position at that level.

While the 48-year-old has helped the development of young players such as Jordan Hugill, Sam Johnstone and Josh Brownhill, he ensures they progress around a core of powerful, experienced campaigners, something Barnsley have lacked this season; Grayson's former player John Welsh is available on a free.

Why he shouldn’t:

Grayson is currently contracted to Bradford, where his future remains uncertain: should he leave Valley Parade due to the continental off-field setup, he might not deem the state of play at Oakwell to be too different, given that Morais was named head coach.

The Ripon-born boss may perhaps need some form of reconciliation with wide man Adam Hammill, one of the few remaining influential figures at Oakwell, who Grayson rarely picked while manager of Huddersfield.

The Sack Race’s Verdict:

Grayson has achieved a lot at this level, but his struggles at Sunderland and Bradford suggest he might not be the sure bet he was 12 months ago.

Managers Departed

Last man down

Graham Westley
Graham Westley
(Stevenage)
16th February
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