Any hopes Barnsley fans had of seeing Ashley Fletcher in the red of Barnsley again next season seem to have been extinguished after the striker agreed a four year contract with West Ham United yesterday.
The 20 year old was a major hit with the Oakwell faithful in 2015-2016 after signing on loan from Manchester United in January as he netted nine times in 27 appearances which included crucial efforts against Fleetwood and Oxford in the Johnstones Paint Trophy and Walsall and Millwall in the play-offs.
Many Reds supporters had hoped he may return to South Yorkshire after turning down a new contract at Old Trafford in search of first team football. However his exploits in League One did not go unnoticed and West Ham have quickly snapped him up meaning the England Under 20 international will now have the opportunity to play at the Olympic Stadium and in the Europa League in the new season.
Barnsley will still have some hope Fletcher could return on loan if Slaven Billic feels he needs more experience before being ready for Premier League football but he follows Josh Brownhill in being a loan star of 2015-2016 that have seeked pastures new but not at Oakwell.
Meanwhile The Reds have started their pre-season campaign with back-to-back away wins at non-league opposition. On Saturday they secured a 2-0 success at National League North side Stalybridge Celtic courtesy of a Adam Hammill penalty and a Jack Cowgill flick, the team being- First Half: Townsend, Bree, Roberts, Mawson, White, Henry, Moncur, Scowen, Lee, Winnall, Watkins. Second Half: Townsend, Yiadom, Cowgill, Nyatanga, Evans, Tuton, Harris, Hourihane, Hammill, Payne, Jackson.
Then last night they secured another 2-0 success against National League outfit Guiseley with goals from first year scholar James Carvell and new signing Stefan Payne. Payne arrived from Dover Athletic where he had scored 35 goals in 46 appearances the day before The Reds second leg play-off success at Walsall. Teams: First Half: Davies, Evans, Roberts, Carvell, Hammill, Hourihane, Winnall, Moncur, Watkins, Yiadom, Mawson. Second Half: Davies, Bree, White, Scowen, Nyatanga, Jackson, Payne, Cowgill, Carvell (Templeton 60), Tuton, Harris.
These two results mean that incredibly Barnsley are unbeaten away from Oakwell in 12 games- nine of which they have won.