2008-2009 Season Previews

By Rob Miles (barnsley Boy)
Last updated : 08 August 2008

Manager: Brian Laws

Odds to win: 33-1


Position: 16th W:14 D:13 L:19 F:54 A:55 Points: 55

Top Scorer: Deon Burton/Marcus Tudgay/Akpo Sodje (7)

FA Cup: Third Round

League Cup: Third Round

Yellows: 59 Reds: 3

Results against Reds:

27/11/07 Sheffield Wednesday 1-0 Barnsley. 1/3/08 Barnsley 0-0 Sheffield Wednesday.


Name: Chris Morris (www.sheffieldwednesday-mad.co.uk)

Club: Sheffield Wednesday

Level of Interest: Obsessed! Lifelong season ticket holder, try to make at least a third of away games.

How has pre-season gone for you?

Surprisingly well so far! Although it would be unwise to read too much into friendly results its much better to win than lose these games and some key players are returning to fitness which is important.

Are you pleased with the signings your club has made?

We are obviously restricted by our budget at the moment but the genuine Burnley fans who are not bitter seem to think that O'Connor will be a good asset to the squad for us.

Chelsea regard Jimmy Smith highly enough to give him the Captaincy of their reserve team so he must have something about him as well.

What realistically are you aiming for this season?

This division is so unpredictable it's hard to say. Last season it was proven that you don't necessarily need the best players to get amongst the top six, good team spirit and organisation can go a long way. We need to get off to a decent start and we be looking for a big improvement on last season. With what we have at the moment, mid-table is realistic.

Which player has past his sell by date?

I'm not sure whether past his sell-by-date is the right way to describe it but Kenny Lunt's days at Hillsborough appear to be numbered. He is clearly not in the managers' 1st team plans and so it would be useful to free up his wages.

Have you got the right manager in charge?

Given the off-field situation he has had to work around in his time at the club Laws has done a reasonable job though last season was very disappointing and some strange tactical moves were made at times.

Despite this he certainly seems to have the confidence and trust of the players and if he can get a fit squad and a decent start then things should improve.

What advice would you give him?

Far from me to give advice to any manager of any professional club but I would like us to be more positive in our play generally, especially in away games. There were times last season when we seemed content to play for a draw even against teams in the bottom half. Our poor start probably affected us as we needed to be cautious and avoid defeats at times so hopefully we can get up and running a bit quicker this time and see more from the midfield players.

Who do you see as your key player?

Akpo Sodje will be an important player for us. He was a bit of an unknown when he signed last season but his work rate is second to none and he quickly built up a rapport with the fans and he has goals in his locker to back up his energy and strength.

Who would you most like to beat this season?

Obviously the Sheffield derby is the biggest game for both teams at this level but defeat against any of the local rivals is hard to take. The games against Forest and Derby will also be interesting but above all else we simply need to get off to a decent start and not leave ourselves fighting an uphill battle from the off like last season.

Where will you finish?

I don't think our starting 11 is bad at all but we do lack strength in depth.

If we can stay injury free then the top half is a possibility. A few teams proved last season that good teamwork and belief can go a long way and you don't necessarily need big name players to succeed in this division. Many of the teams are much of a muchness and so anything between 8th and 18th is realistic, how's that for sitting on the fence!

Anything above 8th would be a big bonus all things considered but to finish in the bottom 6 would be disappointing.

How do you rate Barnsley's chances next season and where do you think they will finish?

As I've said, it is hard to say where anyone will finish for sure in this division and with a bit of momentum from a good start anything is possible. Barnsley have added some good players to their squad over the summer along with one or two more questionable signings but should be looking to get towards mid-table.

Name: Kelly C (a.k.a Kelly_Owls)

Club: Sheffield Wednesday.

Level of Interest : Season-ticket holder and frequent away traveller.

How has pre-season gone for you? :

As well as can be expected, just come back from a tour of Holland where we played two teams, won both and are yet to concede.

Are you pleased with the signings your club has made?

We've only signed James O'Connor on a permanent so far. He's experienced at CCC level which is pleasing but is a steady rather than spectacular signing. Jimmy Smith has come in for 6 months from Chelsea - he's impressed at CCC level before, so hoping for big things from him in an area we're weak in.

What realistically are you aiming for this season? :

Anything better than last season really! Players are talking about sneaking into a playoff position, but we haven't got a chance!

Which player has past his sell by date? :

He's not particularly old, but Kenny Lunt is just simply not good enough.

Have you got the right manager in charge? :

He'll do for now.

What advice would you give him? :

Just to keep focusing on the task on the pitch, and don't listen to the takeover speculation regarding his job and future.

Who do you see as your key player? :

Mark Beevers. Still only 18, he's arguably our best player and is destined for much bigger things, both domestically and most probably on the International stage if he continues progressing the way he has been over the past few years.

Who would you most like to beat this season? :

Sheffield United. Again.

Where will you finish? :

Heart says playoffs, head says 16th.

How do you rate Barnsley's chances next season and where do you think they will finish?

I think Barnsley will do a lot better this season than last season. Instead of signing unknown foreigners who go either way, they've signed a proven Championship striker in Iain Hume which you seemed to need, going on last season's strikers at your disposal.

You've got a good keeper, two good midfielders in Howard and Anderson De Silva and plenty of other decent players, I quite fancy you for 12th - 14th place.

Barnsley Match Reports

Sky Bet Championship Sat 17th March 13:00

Barnsley 0 - 2 Millwall

Last game - Match Centre

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