Barnsley manager Keith Hill has made a number of changes to his squad ahead of the 2012/13 Championship campaign, but do not expect the Tykes to be among the promotion contenders this season. Championship title odds: 150/1 (Paddy Power)
In: Lee Collins (undisclosed amount), Toni Silva (free transfer), Ben Alnwick (free transfer), Mido (free transfer), Jacob Mellis (free transfer), Kelvin Etuhu (free transfer)
Out: Jacob Butterfield (undisclosed amount), David Cotterill (free transfer), Jay McEveley (free transfer), Jay McEveley (loan), Chris Dagnall (loan), Kern Miller (released), Andy Gray (released), David Preece (released), Nathan Doyle (released), Alistair Taylor (released)
Strengths: Keith Hill’s ‘slave driver’ mentality. Many football fans would worry when they hear tat the manager of their beloved team is asking his players to run themselves into the ground on the football pitch, quite literally. However, there is method to Hill’s madness, as he told the Sheffield Star: “I want them to play fatigued because that will be improving the players conditionally as we get closer to the first game. We’re fit, but we’re not sharp. Sharpness is key.” Those Tykes will be all grown-up soon.
Weaknesses: To say Barnsley’s defence line last season was filled with more gaps than a South Korean Olympic badminton team sticking to a story that they play honestly would be an understatement. Their goal difference of -25 in the 2011/12 season was the second worst in the Championship – only basement club Doncaster Rovers fared worse.
Last season’s performance: With a goal difference of -25, one can guess that Barnsley fans did not have a very happy campaign last season. In fact, the club finished in 21st spot and survived to fight another day in the Championship simply because Portsmouth were deducted points for their money woes.
If they were a celebrity: John Terry. Always find themselves stuck shoulder-deep in trouble and yet never fail to somehow claw their way out of the danger zone.
You might not have known: Barnsley have already held Premier League outfit West Bromwich Albion to a 0-0 draw in friendly competition at Oakwell on July 28. The battling Tykes actually rattled the Baggies’ post during the game – is a turn in the tide coming?
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