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Nine contenders to be the next Barnsley manager

A look at nine names Barnsley could appoint
A look at nine names Barnsley could appoint

EFL pundit Gab Sutton picks out nine contenders to be the next Barnsley manager following the sacking of Markus Schopp...

Jimmy Thelin

Jimmy Thelin has been added to William Hill’s next Barnsley manager market at 16/1, after a request on social media.

It remains to be seen whether this means that the IF Elsborg boss has been approached, but it would be a random name to casually put forward given the relative obscurity of the Swedish domestic game.

Thelin got the head coach’s job at Jönköpings Södra IF due to circumstance, with the team managerless while he was Sporting Director, and he subsequently worked wonders.

J-Södra attained 4th spot in the Superettan (Second Division) – their best finish since 1976 – prior to a historic promotion the following season.

After a tough debut campaign, Thelin has since had IF Elsborg in contention for the Allsvenskan title, as well as competing in Europe: “Di Gule” (The Yellow Ones) were unlucky to draw Feyenord in the Play-Offs for the Europa League Group Stage.

The 43-year-old may now be tempted by the lure of English football, knowing that if, like Valérien Ismaël, he performs well, he may get the opportunity one way or another to work in the Premier League.

Ryan Mason

After Jose Mourinho was sacked by Tottenham in April last season, Ryan Mason finished the campaign in interim charge with four wins in seven games.

With Mourinho’s permanent replacement, Nuno Espirito Santo, now gone just 10 games into his reign, Mason may have another game or two as caretaker, but it seems Antonio Conte is set to be confirmed as the club’s next permanent manager.

Conte may want to bring in his own backroom team, while Mason may have ambitions of establishing himself as a head coach, in which case, a move to the Championship is possible given that he might not yet have done enough to earn a Premier League manager’s job.

Joseph Laumann

What works in Joseph Laumann’s favour is that he was initially brought to Barnsley by Valérien Ismaël, not Markus Schopp.

For that reason, it is just as fair to apply praise to the German for his involvement in last season’s Play-Off miracle as it is to apply criticism for this season’s woes.

Furthermore, it is unclear how much influence Laumann had on team selection and tactics, and it is possible that had he been appointed head coach in the summer, he would have sought to stick with Ismael’s fundamental blueprint.

Michael Appleton

Michael Appleton is well overdue an opportunity at Championship level.

He could have got that opportunity this season, had his Lincoln City side beaten Blackpool in the Play-Off Final, but a 2-1 defeat means another season in the lower reaches of English football for the Mancunian.

This season has proved a tough rebuilding phase, too, for Appleton, who has had to replace key loanees like Morgan Rogers and Brennan Johnson, plus left-back Tayo Edun, a permanent departure to Blackburn, while key defender Joe Walsh has struggled with injury.

Despite all this, the Imps are still in the top half and seven points off the Play-Offs: Appleton may feel he deserves a new challenge in the second tier.

Enrico Maaßen

Huddersfield appointed Dortmund II’s head coach and won promotion to the Premier League the following season.

Norwich appointed Dortmund II’s head coach and won promotion to the Premier League the following season.

If that is anything to go by, then Barnsley will surely be tempted at the current incumbent in that hotseat, Enrico Maaßen.

Maaßen is believed to be “too good” a coach for the 3. Liga (German third division), having led BVB to the Regionalliga West title last term with just one defeat in a 40-game campaign.

Next Barnsley Manager Odds

Alex Neil

If Schopp’s struggles sees Barnsley opt to shop for their next head coach in the domestic market, Alex Neil is the best available option.

At Preston North End, the Scot inherited from Simon Grayson solid, defensive foundations, on which he built one of the best pressing and transitional play outfit in the Championship over the next three seasons.

At the tail-end of his time at Deepdale, Neil’s tenure stagnated due to the lack of investment towards evolving a dormant, aging squad and the problems may have burdened the head coach.

After a period of rest and reflection, though, the 40-year-old will be refreshed for his next challenge and may appreciate the more streamlined recruitment structure at Oakwell, while the younger squad will enable him to encourage once again his favoured high-intensity game.

Fabio Ingolitsch

Fabio Ingolitsch is the youngest person in Austria to obtain both the UEFA A-License and the UEFA Pro-License, at 24 and his current age of 29 respectively.

That, though, is just the tip of the iceberg.

FC Liefering, a feeder club to FC Red Bull Salzburg since 2012, are the smallest club in 2. Liga (Austrian second tier), with attendances of around 500, and had just been promoted to the division when Ingolitsch came in as an assistant in 2017.

Liefering subsequently achieved three top five finishes in four seasons and were always one of the top goalscorers in the division, thanks to Ingolitsch’s coaching.

He played a part in the development of current Salzburg first team regulars – Philipp Köhn, Karim Adeyemi and Nicolas Seiwald – as well as nurturing current Hungary star Dominik Szoboszlai.

Ingolitsch was rewarded for his work at Liefering with a job at Salzburg’s youth team, where his side have won each of their first six games in the ÖFB Jugenliga U18.

Off the back of working with Ingolitsch, we have already seen academy stars like Maurits Kjaergaard, Daouda Guindo and Maurits Kjaergaard gain first team league minutes.

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes has done a marvellous job at Chelsea Women over the last nine years, winning 10 major honours with the Blues.

It is by no means a given that the 45-year-old, born in London, will give up what she has in West London: close family links, an opportunity to win major honours each season and working with excellent players like Millie Bright, Fran Kirby and Magdalena Eriksson.

Equally, it would take a certain amount of courage for Barnsley to appoint the first female manager in the English professional game.

That stigma, though, is the only reason why world-class managers like Hayes have – as far as is known - not been approached at the appropriate level of the men’s game, which is something Barnsley could take advantage of if Hayes wants a fresh challenge.

Mersad Selimbegović

As a child, Mersad Selimbegovic suffered months in a Serb-run concentration camp during the appalling aggression on Bosnia.

It is a grave injustice that anybody, let alone a kid, should have to deal with those horrors.

Selimbegović himself has said that the experience has shaped him – however savage and inhumane the treatment – in the sense that nothing truly fazes or affects him.

SSV Jahn Regensburg have the lowest budget in the 2. Bundesliga and, after two midtable seasons under the 39-year-old’s reign, are now 2nd in the table with 25 points from 12 games.

"Die Jahnelf" have had this success with a direct style of football, playing on average 72 long balls per game – the joint-third most in the division – and their aggression is underlined by the completion of on average 17 tackles per game – the second-most.

They have also scored a remarkable 12 goals from set pieces, which is the most in the league: for context, Darmstadt, Schalke 04 and Hansa Rostock have scored the second-most from dead ball scenarios with six.

Selimbegović’s methods would suit the presence of numerous big strikers like Aaron Leya Iseka, Carlton Morris, Obbi Oularé, Devante Cole and Victor Adeboyejo.

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