Barnsley FC in fresh manager search after Poya Asbaghi pays price for Championship relegation

Barnsley have begun looking for a fourth head coach in 12 months after speeding up Poya Asbaghi’s departure.

Asbaghi said after Friday’s 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield Town condemned last season’s Championship play-off semi-finalists to relegation he expected to take today’s press conference to preview tomorrow’s match at home to Blackpool, and indications behind the scenes backed that up.

A clause in Asbaghi’s contract allowed Barnsley to dispense with him at the end of the season but on Sunday morning it was confirmed he and assistant Ferran Sibila had gone immediately, officially by mutual consent.

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Although chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad revealed: “Our search for a new coach has already started,” academy coach Martin Devaney will take charge against Blackpool, Preston North End and West Bromwich Albion, assisted by Tom Harban and Jo Laumann.

Poya Asbaghi: Sacked by Barnsley on Sunday less than 48 hours after relegation. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

In the final answer of his last press conference as coach, Asbaghi said Barnsley’s financial situation “requires not only one or two good decisions, you’re pretty dependent on getting most things right”.

Since Valerien Ismael left last summer, taking assistant Adam Murray, sports scientist Jonny Northeast, analyst Jack Riley and out-of-contract captain Alex Mowatt with him to West Bromwich Albion, a club who lost chief executive Dane Murphy weeks later has made a litany of bad decisions, including appointing Asbaghi.

First came Markus Schopp, whose vision of a style somewhere between Ismael’s directness and Gerhard Struber’s more possession-based approach produced neither one thing nor the other.

Mowatt’s invaluable experience was replaced with more youngsters, and with Daryl Dike’s loan over, Barnsley spent West Brom’s compensation money disastrously on Obbi Oulare and Aaron Leya Iseka. The form of key players last season dipped alarmingly.

Poya Asbaghi will not be the man to try and bring Barnsley back (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

When Asbaghi resigned as Sweden Under-21s coach to replace the sacked Schopp, Barnsley were four points adrift of safety after 17 matches, 14 above Derby County, still in the minuses after punishments for financial breaches.

The 36-year-old won six and lost 17 of 28 matches and leaves with Barnsley bottom. They took just five away points, only beating Hull City.

It was asking a lot for a coach with no experience of English football to turn Barnsley around in mid-season. Former winger Neil Warnock has since said he would have gladly taken the job if offered, but the Reds like to rely on emerging young, largely overseas talent.

January deadline-day loans Domingos Quina and Amine Bassi gave more attacking threat but too little, too late. Asbaghi was criticised for poor substitutions and not being bold enough.

“This is a football club pretty dependent on making good choices,” he said on Friday. “They have to have smarter decisions than most other clubs.”