Barnsley will look to emulate the principled blueprint laid out by South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United as they embark on their return campaign in the Championship.
Three seasons ago, Sheffield United won League One at a canter – and next week they kick-off in the Premier League. They won promotion inside two seasons, largely because they stuck to their values.
Barnsley – relegated from the Championship in the Blades’ first season back – finished second in League One last season and see a model of how to go about their business from those at Bramall Lane.
Dale Tonge, Barnsley’s assistant manager under head coach Danioel Stendel, said: “Look at Chris Wilder at Sheffield United, he stuck to his guns, he was given the opportunity and he’s got a certain style of play that’s worked and is exciting to watch.
“We’re going to do exactly the same. How they went about it and the beliefs they stuck to is something you can build on, and can look at.
“Chrissy was given backing by the board and the club to carry on his philosophy, and they’ve all been proven right. It was really exciting to watch and they got success at the end of it.
“The key was to stick to your values, and that’s something we’ll strive to keep. At the same time you need that stability, if you have that it’s easier to make it work.”
Stability might be the first question raised when doubting Barnsley’s ability to replicate the enormous success Sheffield United enjoyed.
The Reds’ promotion to the Championship resulted in the mainstays of their defence – Liam Lindsay and Ethan Pinnock, plus goalkeeper Adam Davies – being poached by Championship rivals, while they also have a fight to hang on to striker Kieffer Moore ahead of the closing of the transfer window next Thursday.
Ten players have come in, meaning it may take time to gel, but ahead of the visit of Fulham, Tonge reports that Stendel’s buoyant squad are up for the challenge.
“The group that was here last year, the group we’ve got now, they have got that no-fear attitude and that’s something we’re really looking forward to,” said Tonge.
“We’ve got momentum. The gaffer’s style will not change, home or away, so you know you’re going to get attacking football.
“We understand we’re not going to win every game because of the calibre of the competition, but, at the same time, we’re not going to fear anyone.”