2009-2010 Championship Previews

Last updated : 06 August 2009 By Rob Miles (barnsley Boy)

Manager: Kevin Blackwell

Odds to win: 11/1. Odds for Promotion: 11/4


Position: 3rd W:22 D:14 L:10 F:64 A:39 Points: 80

Top Scorer: James Beattie (12)

FA Cup: Fourth Round

League Cup: Third Round

Yellows: 53 Reds: 5

Results against Reds:

8/11/08 Barnsley 1-2 Sheffield United. 7/4/09 Sheffield United 2-1 Barnsley


Name: Paul Holland

Sheffield United

Level of Interest: Blades-Mad Editor

How has pre-season gone for you?

It's been a little difficult to say, they have played only two frendlies; both ending in victory but were away from Bramall Lane and having not seen these fixtures it is difficult to suggest how well they performed.

They beat a Maltese side 1-0 (Brian Howard on the score sheet) whilst they returned to England and narrowly beat Sheffield FC 4-3. They where meant to be facing Ferencvaros in Hungary but this game was cancelled.

However they do have remaining fixtures against Chesterfield, Lincoln City and Bury away from S2 to play before the seasons start at Middlesbrough.

Are you pleased with the signings your club has made?

Kevin Blackwell hasn't spent too much in the transfer market so far; former Tykes winger Kyel Reid has joined on a free transfer, whilst Lee Williamson (Watford) and Andy Taylor (Tranmere Rovers) have also come to Bramall Lane.

Though there are big money rumours flying around; both Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton are supposedly going to Tottenham Hotspur whilst United have signed Chad Evans (Manchester City), these deals have neither been confirmed nor denied by the official clubs'.

The signings made aren't going to whet the mouths of the Blades fans unless a 20 goal striker can be found; Glenn Little and Julian Gray have joined on trial but the worry is that there is too much concentration on bringing in wide men when what we really require is someone to stick it into the old onion bag (so to speak!).

What realistically are you aiming for this season?

After been overturned by Burnley in the Play-Off Final (again!) the Blades must again aim for promotion. This season will be tough - Newcastle United, Ipswich Town, West Bromwich Albion, Queens Park Rangers and Nottingham Forest will all turn out strong sides, making this seasons Championship possibly one of the strongest in recent years.

Which player has past his sell by date?

Captain Chris Morgan is as solid as a rock at the back, but has had the tendency to be a liability at freak times; he is a good Championship player but if a better replacement can be found then I wouldn't be too disappointed to see the former
Barnsley defender leave the Lane.

Have you got the right manager in charge?

You have to feel sorry for old Blackie, twelve months ago he wasn't given a chance by a section of the fans; but he took us to the Play-Offs where we wanted to be and although the final didn't go as we would have liked I would have to say he did a splendid job.

As already mentioned this season is going to be tough and the Blades haven't spent the cash yet, if he buys well then fans will be on his side again.

What advice would you give him?

Stop pursuing wingers, it's nice to have variety and the new rule of seven substitutes I guess doesn't help squad selection but a proven goal scorer is needed. The last time a striker scored was Arturo Lupoli against
Barnsley in our 2-1 win, that was sometime towards the end of the season.

Who do you see as your key player?

Matthew Kilgallon - centre-half, was a catalyst in last season's strong defence and if the Bramall Lane club can keep hold of the former Leeds United defender then I see no reason why he can't be a strong hold in the back four again.

Who would you most like to beat this season?

Ideally everyone, but that obviously isn't going to happen. Sheffield Wednesday did the double over United last season, for the first time in 95 years. I wouldn't like to see them do it again.

Where will you finish?

The 2009/10 season is going to be hard for United; I would seriously like to think that we can finish in the top six but without the right signings that won't happen. Eighth will be a decent finish for us.

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

I saw Barnsley in action against our Hungary side; Ferencvaros. Both sides looked particularly slow on the ball and looked lost on ideas. Onome Sodje could be a decent signing - he's quick but has a bad first touch; he took his goal well but he may not be enough for the Tykes.

Last season they looked a good mid-table side but I feel that Barnsley may well struggle and the trap door that is relegation could open up beneath them in May.