BARNSLEY manager Danny Wilson insists his decision to part company with Micky Mellon and Ian Willcock was one of the toughest he has had to make in football.
Assistant manager Mellon and goalkeeping coach Willcock left Oakwell on Wednesday afternoon, with Wilson admitting the decision to dispense with the pair’s services was his alone.
He has stressed it was nothing to do with their input into the club, more the working ‘synergy’ between the trio.
Frank Barlow, who worked with Wilson at Sheffield United and who had spells as a youth and reserve-team coach at Oakwell in the late Eighties, is expected to link up with Wilson shortly; the 67-year-old currently works as a scout at Hull City.
For the time being, development coach Paul Heckingbottom will assist Wilson ahead of the Championship home game with Bournemouth tomorrow.
Tykes’ boss said: “First and foremost with Ian and Mick, it’s arguably one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make.
“They have done absolutely nothing wrong and both are cracking lads and they will both definitely get back into football – I am sure sooner rather than later.
“But I felt at this moment in time it was a decision that I had to make personally.
“It was down to myself, not the club. When I presented it to the club, they supported me and said yes and that was great in that respect.
“But it gives me no pleasure when people lose their jobs, quite honestly, and I should know that first hand; it’s never easy.
“But it had to be done.
It was nothing to do with their input. It’s about synergy more than anything. It was important I felt right. Managers always look around people who are around them and generally stay with people they know and who they have worked with before, and that’s one of the reasons as well.
“When we sat down, it was done very, very professionally, honestly and openly, which I would expect to happen if it was me in that position. The lads understood it, although they were disappointed, I am sure.
“The fact they understood it says a lot about their professionalism and how they handled it.
“But now we have to move on.
“The most important thing is to concentrate on the weekend’s game. If anything does transpire, it will be done very quickly.”
Wilson’s association with Barlow stretches back to their time together at Chesterfield at the start of the Eighties, when the Reds boss played under him.
But with Barlow currently in employment with another club in Hull, Wilson is loathe to put a timescale on things, while acknowledging the strong working relationship the pair enjoy.
He added: “It’s right to say I have worked with Frank many, many times and he’s a terrific guy and a terrific coach as well. We’ll have to wait and see.
“But we do need that extra body, no doubt about that, and hopefully we’ll put those wheels in motion.”
Last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at Watford plunged the Reds to the foot of the table, with a few home truths issued to his players in a sombre dressing room by an angry Wilson following the game.
They were left under no illusions as to what is on the line for them and the club between now and May 3, with the players themselves also having their say and expressing their hurt at the Reds’ current predicament in some frank discussions.
While the spectre of relegation turning into reality unless things improve soon is self-evident to all concerned, Wilson says his troops must put all that firmly to the back of their minds and show no fear where it matters – on the pitch – in an attempt to do something about it.
He said: “There’s a lot of caveats with the fact you are bottom of the league.
“We are all playing for our careers and results for the club and representing the club. We have got to demand a lot of each other and not be scared of saying it. After the game on Saturday was very candid and what I expected.”
“The players have to understand that if we are relegated, there’s going to be some changes.
“But that is further down the line. The players understand that and can’t play with that fear hanging over them on Saturday.
“They have got to go out and focus on what is important, which is playing the game.
“If they are worried about what might happen in six or eight weeks, they are not concentrating on the game.”
Wilson has not ruled out Peter Ramage returning to action tomorrow, despite the defender not training this week after missing the Watford game with a hamstring injury.
Wilson acknowledged: “It would be a gamble if we involved him.
“But, sometimes, you have to take gambles.”