'Ambitious' Michael Duff determined to progress after being confirmed as head coach at League One side Barnsley

BARNSLEY have confirmed the appointment of Michael Duff as the club's new head coach on a three-year deal.

The 44-year-old, who left League One rivals Cheltenham Town on Monday, had been the frontrunner for the vacant Oakwell position for a number of weeks.

He was interviewed by the Reds on two occasions and also spoke with Championship outfit Blackpool last Tuesday regarding the vacant position at Bloomfield Road.

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The former Northern Ireland international was subsequently offered the Oakwell position at the end of last week and after considering the offer over the weekend, his appointment has now been officially completed.

New Barnsley FC head coach Michael Duff. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.New Barnsley FC head coach Michael Duff. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.
New Barnsley FC head coach Michael Duff. Picture courtesy of Barnsley FC.

Duff becomes the Reds' first permanent British head coach since Paul Heckingbottom, with Barnsley having made a departure from their policy of appointing continental candidates over the past four-and-a-half years.

Prior to Duff, the Reds' last six full-time head coaches had arrived from overseas in the shape of Jose Morais, Daniel Stendel, Gerhard Struber, Valerien Ismael, Markus Schopp and Poya Asbaghi.

Duff said: “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s taken a little bit of time to get things done and box things off but now I’m here, in the stadium, wearing the kit, I can’t wait to get going now and meet the players.”

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“The opportunity came around to manage a club the size of this, I’m ambitious, I want to progress. I just saw it as the next step, and I think me and the club can work hand in hand to hopefully move forward again."

Barnsley chief executive officer Khaled El-Ahmad commented: “We are pleased to welcome Michael to Barnsley FC.

"We followed a thorough recruitment process and are happy to have identified such a capable coach who will play an important role in our project at Oakwell.

"His wealth of experience throughout the English footballing pyramid both as a player and head coach will be of great benefit to our players and staff alike.

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"Crucially, Michael is aware of the challenges that League One possesses and as such, we are confident that he is the right man to take us forward."

Duff is to set to be assisted by Reds under-23s coach Martin Devaney, a former team-mate from their playing days at Cheltenham.

Devaney led the club on an interim basis at the end of last season following the departure of Asbaghi.

Brought up in North Yorkshire, Duff, a widely-admired professional during his playing days as a defender with Cheltenham and Burnley, started his coaching career at Turf Moor after hanging up his boots.

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He led the Clarets' under-18s and under-23s teams before moving back to Cheltenham to take over as manager in September 2018.

Duff won the League Two title with the Robins in 2020-21 and was named as the division’s manager of the year – with the Gloucestershire club impressively consolidating under his command in the third tier last season.

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