Barnsley CEO Khaled El-Ahmad on the future of Michael Duff and what he said about Bobby Thomas and Harry Isted

BARNSLEY chief executive officer Khaled El-Ahmad has stressed that there has been no interest in the services of Michael Duff with the club in a 'good place' and ready to build on their outstanding 2022-23 campaign under the Reds head coach.

Duff joined the club exactly a year ago and transformed the fortunes of the playing side of the club in magnificent fashion last season - both in terms of results, style and culture.

The former Cheltenham Town chief, who signed a three-year deal last June, took the club to the League One play-off final and within one victory of a return to the Championship at the first time of asking, with the season comprehensively surpassing expectations.

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That has led to suggestions that Duff could be targeted by other clubs with the 45-year-old mentioned as a contender for the Huddersfield Town job back in the spring.

Michael Duff. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.Michael Duff. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.
Michael Duff. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

El-Ahmad remains relaxed regarding any speculation regarding Duff, with the club fully focused on building on his excellent first year in charge with the former Burnley defender at the helm.

He said: "He is under contract and he is coaching Barnsley FC. For assurances, he is under contract, just like the players are and we are planning the pre-season. So far, there's nothing else to report. There's been none (interest).

"Obviously, I don't talk about individual contracts in public. All I can say is that we are prepared for all scenarios at all times. In a sense in football, if it happens, it happens. But it's all heading in the right direction. We are in a good place."

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Barnsley utilised the loan market to bring in the likes of Bobby Thomas, Slobodan Tedic, Harry Isted, Max Watters and Ziyad Larkeche last term.

El-Ahmad is not ruling out a return for last season's loanees, while the club are in discussions over a permanent move for Isted, who recently left parent club Luton Town.

He continued: "There are ongoing discussions. Obviously when it is with loan players, the situation is different as you don't really control them."In the sense of us not getting promoted, it may change the perspective for some of the targets.

"But we saw how we developed them. No-one spoke about Bobby Thomas until he came or thought of Tedic or Ziyad or Harry or Josh Martin.

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"Whether they played a lot or not, we took six players on loan and they loved it and they are all open to the idea of Barnsley Football Club. But again, there's certain variables you need to agree on."

On the situation with Isted, El-Ahmad said: "Whether it is Harry or any other player who has been here or anywhere else, we are going to try and have the best possible team at Oakwell when the season starts. It's ongoing discussions (with Isted)."