Barnsley FC: Mads Anderson looking forward to playing under Michael Duff at Oakwell

Ask Mads Anderson how Michael Duff differs from the other five Barnsley coaches he has played for in just three years and he shoots back: “He’s English!”

Although the Danish centre-back is not strictly correct – Duff is from Northern Ireland – you know what he is getting at, and he is actually making a serious point.

Daniel Stendel was in charge when Anderson joined from AC Horsens, followed by Gerhard Struber, Valerien Ismael, Markus Schopp and Poya Asbaghi.

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None had managed in England, and only Ismael – for nine months at Crystal Palace – played here.

Barnsley's Mads Anderson. Picture: Simon HulmeBarnsley's Mads Anderson. Picture: Simon Hulme
Barnsley's Mads Anderson. Picture: Simon Hulme

“They do it in a different way than European coaches, but a good way,” explains Anderson. “He (Duff) has a good feeling for the group – when to say something, when not to say something, when to be serious, when to make some of the lads laugh.

“He’s managed in this division and played in it so I think that will help.”

That the 24 year-old is one of Barnsley’s senior players perhaps compounded the backgrounds of Schopp and 36-year-old Asbaghi as Barnsley were relegated from the Championship last season.

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“It was a tough season,” admits Anderson. “There was some stuff in the beginning we should have taken care of and small bits along the way we didn’t handle well.

“You’ve just got to go into every game with the right mentality and go to win. What might have been if players were older, the gaffer was older, you never know.”

The new signings have a strong British feel but still have to adapt.

“You have to get them into the group as quickly as possible,” says Anderson. “The Barnsley fans expect hard work. If you don’t give everything, you’ll feel it as a player. If they can see you giving everything, they will get behind you.”

Barnsley-born midfielder Joe Ackroyd has signed a new one-year contract. His only senior appearance was in the FA Cup against Barrow last season.

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