Barnsley FC would not be in this position if Poya Asbaghi arrived at start of season - Callum Brittain

CALLUM BRITTAIN insists that Barnsley would be in a much better position in the Championship table if Poya Asbaghi had arrived at the club earlier on in 2021-22.

Callum Brittain of Barnsley. Picture: George Wood/Getty Images
Callum Brittain of Barnsley. Picture: George Wood/Getty Images

The second-from-bottom Reds still have it all to do in their quest to retain their second-tier status after a fraught season, but have shown more belief of late by way of a run of just two losses in their past six league games.

Barnsley have won three of them and it would have been four but for a cruel late equaliser in midweek for Stoke, which scuppered Asbaghi’s hopes of a third successive win at Oakwell.

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During some abject team form for Barnsley in the autumn, Brittain candidly spoke about the team being too disconnected and static and implored the club’s then head coach Markus Schopp to change their approach.

Schopp left the club on November 1 and despite some modest results in the first few months of his tenure, Asbaghi soon secured the trust of the players, according to Brittain.

He said: “I totally believe we would not be in this position if he was here at the beginning of the season.

“He has come into a difficult environment and it was one which was very hard to turn very quickly, especially with a young group of players.

“I am probably one of the more experienced and am only 23. Obviously, with players like me, my head has gone at times this season and it’s hard to turn it around.

“But he has come in and been excellent and has not lost his head and come in and given anyone the hair-drier treatment.

“He’s tried to build confidence and spoken to individuals and got to know them.

“We as players need to give everything on the pitch as he is the guy who has tried to regain that confidence.”

Despite some encouraging recent form, Barnsley’s progress will be tested to the hilt on Saturday against the division’s best side and most prolific striker in Fulham’s Aleksandar Mitrovic.

On whether Barnsley have any special plan to handle the 35-goal Championship top-scorer, who has scored 10 more goals than Barnsley, Asbaghi said: “You can talk about Mitrovic and that he is scoring a lot of goals, but it is not only about Mitrovic.

“It is a team full of skills and if you just focus on one or two players, there are enough (other) players that will take advantage of that if you give them enough space and they will be the ones punishing you.”