FA CUP business is not the only thing on the agenda on the first weekend of the new year for Barnsley manager Danny Wilson.
Alongside this afternoon’s tie with Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough, Wilson is working hard behind the scenes to boost his squad numbers, with defensive and midfield cover alongside a targetman and a winger on his shopping list.
Wilson is keen to do his transfer window business sooner rather than later, with former Rotherham United forward Tom Pope, at Port Vale, a long-time target with the Reds also interested in Carlisle United’s teenage winger Kyle Dempsey – although there is rival interest in the pair.
Wilson said: “We would like to do our business early if we can. We do not want to wait until the end of the month and miss out on our top targets.
“One or two of the signings may not be for now, they may be for the future.”
Today’s game sees former Reds favourite Steve Agnew return to his old club after recently re-joining Boro as head coach Aitor Karanka’s assistant after leaving Hull City.
Karanka is expected to ring the changes today at Oakwell, where his predecessor, Tony Mowbray, took charge of his last game with the Teessiders in a 3-2 loss in October, 2013, the precursor to him parting company with his boyhood club.
Despite Boro being favourites for the tie, Karanka insists he will offer due respect to Barnsley, who he will not be under-estimating.
He said: “I have to transmit to the players that they have to play with the same motivation as them and play with our usual intensity and style.
“They are playing at home against a team in a higher division, so we have to be at our best.”