Character rather than talent will be the key attribute in players Gerhard Struber will attempt to bring into his struggling Barnsley side in January.
The Austrian has breathed new life into the Reds since taking charge of the Oakwell club in November.
Barnsley have won two and drawn one of Struber’s six games in charge, the seven points gained almost doubling the tally previously earned under Daniel Stendel and then Adam Murray for a brief spell. Indeed, Barnsley have cut the gap to safety from eight points to four, even if they haven’t yet been able to climb off the foot of the table.
With a busy Christmas period that Struber happily admits is ‘crazy’ beginning today at Millwall, Barnsley will look to keep in touch with safety before Struber can flex his muscles in January.
“We need more professionals in this club, in this difficult situation we need a top mentality and a top spirit in our team,” he said.
“There is no place for egos and we now have the right characters in my team.
At the same time, I am happy here and my main focus is helping us get out of the position we are in.Cauley Woodrow
“In January we buy or loan players with the character and the attitude to give their all.
“Talent is another matter. In a difficult situation, the right character is the most important thing.
“We have grown up, every day in training. We have a big concentration on my style, they listen, they develop in every session.
“We have made good progress. But we have to work every day.
“If we can create one or two or three players in January to help us, we will be on the right path to stay in the league.”
As well as additions, keeping players at the club will be just as crucial.
Three of the nine goals Cauley Woodrow has scored this season have come since Struber took charge, and his assertion this week that he wants to stay in a Barnsley shirt will be music to the ears of Reds fans – and Struber.
“I see myself here all season, for sure,” said the former Fulham striker, 25.
“January is not even here but we’re all doing well so there probably will be some interest.
“But, at the same time, I am happy here and my main focus is helping us get out of the position we are in.
“I enjoy playing here, I am playing most weeks and that’s the main thing for any player. All I can see for myself at the moment is being in a Barnsley shirt.”
Another goal today would certainly help, but after the gung-ho nature of their previous game when they put five past QPR against three conceded, Struber is preaching ball retention as a key factor at Millwall.
“It’s important to have good position and good control on the ball,” said Struber.
“Our big learning from the last game is to retain good control of the ball and picking the right moment to break the lines.”
On the busy Christmas period, Struber – who is used to a winter break in the leagues he has worked in previously – said: “I think it’s crazy, but I like it.
“It’s the first Boxing Day for me, but it’s a special one. Usually at Christmas we have free time, but now it’s the time for football.”