BARNSLEY fans seeking a new hero could have two to salute by the end of the week.
Danny Haynes has already signed following Adam Hammill's 600,000 departure to Wolves and manager Mark Robins is continuing efforts to re-sign former captain and driving midfielder Brian Howard from Reading.
Both players' careers have stalled and 200,000 Bristol City signing Haynes is determined to kick-start his at Oakwell after signing a two-and-a-half-year deal.
Dubbed and dogged by the 'next Darren Bent' tag since following Aston Villa's new 24m striker through Ipswich Town's apprenticeship scheme in 2005, Haynes knows he has a lot to prove and the Londoner was undaunted by a move up north in his determination to do just that.
Having turned 23 last week, time is still on his side but following his debut alongside striker Garry O'Connor, Haynes said: "It was difficult to judge my performance on what I did today because I haven't had a whole 90 minutes for a while now but I felt I worked hard."
He could have crowned it with a goal but was given offside after tapping the ball home when Dorus De Vries could only parry a stinging drive from full-back Kieran Trippier in the 33rd minute.
"It was a coin toss really. The linesman thought I was offside but I didn't think I was," said Haynes, whose pace has also been utilised out on the flanks.
For now, though, he will concentrate on taking some of the pressure off target man O'Connor, who has often been used as a sole striker.
"I just want to play and get more goals. I've only worked with Garry for two days – he's obviously a very strong guy and wins a lot of balls in the air and holds the ball up well and I think we can work well as a team.
"I just want to get my goal ratio up more, get to know the players and enjoy myself. I can definitely see the manager helping me to develop and be the best player I can possibly be.
"I want to relaunch my career which was on a standstill. This is the right move for me. I feel that I did not get enough games at Ipswich – most were off the bench – and at Bristol I had a bad injury and they had to buy in players who did well and I did not manage to get back in the team. It was just one of those things."
Regarding comparisons with Villa's England forward, Haynes added: "The tag of being the next Darren Bent did not really affect me because I know I have got the ability and I have got the talent. Darren was someone I really wanted to learn off. He has always scored goals and I think he is under-rated. He told me to knuckle down, be focussed and just learn.
"When I came here, the manager did not beat around the bush. He told me what he wanted from me and what he expected from me and I respect that.
"I have to show the same respect back by working hard and keeping my head down and making sure he gets the best out of me."
Haynes could only have been impressed by the effort his colleagues put in against the Championship's second-placed side.
Shorn of suspended centre-backs Jason Shackell and Stephen Foster, Robins successfully plugged the gaps with Bobby Hassell and Nathan Doyle and with Swansea becoming increasingly frustrated at being unable to find a way past full-backs Trippier and Matt Hill, an unexpected win for Barnsley was on the cards.
They had taken a 15th-minute lead when Hassell's far-post header from a corner from Jacob Butterfield was adjudged to have crossed the line as Joe Allen kneed the ball against the underside of the bar before clearing.
Had Haynes's strike been allowed to stand then a two-goal buffer would probably have been too much for free-flowing Swansea.
They had the better of the second half but with central midfield pair Hugo Colace and Diego Arismendi, whose thigh problem had not allowed him to train all week, finally getting into the game, goalkeeper Luke Steele was afforded top protection.
However, Swansea equalised from the spot in the 86th minute. Luke Moore clipped the ball over the defence, Scott Sinclair showed stunning speed in reaching it and ensured he made contact with Steele as the goalkeeper lunged to his right in an attempt to gather.
Sinclair got his penalty and sent Steele the wrong way for his 17th goal of the season.
It was tough on Barnsley – both managers having differing views on the validity of both goals – but the overall performance will have given added belief to players and supporters that they can become South Yorkshire's top Championship club and go clear of Doncaster Rovers in tomorrow's eagerly-anticipated derby at the Keepmoat.
Barnsley: Steele, Trippier, Hassell, Doyle, Hill; O'Brien (Taylor 74), Arismendi, Colace, Butterfield; Haynes, O'Connor (Lovre 84). Unused substitutes: Preece, Bennett, Neumann, Gray, Branson.
Swansea City: De Vries, Rangel, Tate, Williams, Richards; Allen (Britton 76); Pratley, Gower (Dobbie 68); Dyer (Van der Gun 68), Moore, Sincla ir. Unused substitutes: Beattie, Serran, Ma-Kalambay, Agustien.
Referee: P Gibbs (W Midlands).
Hero: Bobby Hassell
The captain not only scored Barnsley's 15th-minute goal but switched seamlessly to centre-back and, alongside Nathan Doyle, ensured suspended duo Jason Shackell and Stephen Foster were not badly missed.
Villain: Leon Britton
Immediately met with the 'dee-dah' taunts reserved for anyone with Sheffield United connections as he stepped off the bench following his return to Swansea.
85th minute: Scott Sinclair ensures he makes contact with Luke Steele's outstretched arms to win and then score Swansea's equalising penalty.
Phil Gibbs: Made three tough calls and probably got them right.
Barnsley's makeshift side will have gained confidence ahead of tomorrow's derby at Doncaster.
Doncaster v Barnsley, Championship, tomorrow, 7.45pm.
Quote of the day
Barnsley are a terrific footballing side, like ourselves they want to pass the ball, but there are not too many in this division.
– Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers gives praise to Barnsley.
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