WEMBLEY-bound Barnsley last night moved quickly to put Tommy Wright and Paul Heckingbottom in temporary charge as head coach Lee Johnson was locked in talks with Bristol City over a possible return to his former club.
The 34-year-old is seen by the Ashton Gate hierarchy as the man to attempt to lead the Championship club away from relegation trouble.
An official approach was made to Oakwell yesterday morning and permission granted for Johnson, who just 12 hours earlier had led the Reds to the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final, to speak to the Robins.
Sources in the West Country have indicated that Johnson, who made 199 appearances for Bristol City as a player, could be installed over the weekend.
Whether that proves to be the case remains to be seen, but the Oakwell board have asked assistant head coach Wright and coach Heckingbottom to take charge of team affairs.
The players, fresh from booking that Wembley date by beating Fleetwood Town on penalties, are due back in for training today as the preparations continue towards the visit of David Flitcroft’s Bury tomorrow. Explaining Johnson being allowed to speak to the Robins, a club statement read: “We gave this permission because we believe that the structures that we now have in place must be the key to our future success rather than dependence on a single individual.
“If Lee decides to stay with Barnsley Football Club we will be delighted, but if he chooses to move on, we will continue unabated with the plan we have in place for the progression of our club.”
‘Down-to-earth’ Hammill gives dream lift-off: Page 2.