Comment: Why Barnsley FC head coach Michael Duff's situation draws comparisons with Carlos Corberan at Huddersfield Town last summer

MICHAEL DUFF has found himself in a similar situation to what Carlos Corberan was in at Huddersfield Town 12 months ago.

Like Corberan, the Barnsley head coach was left feeling justifiably sore following a gut-wrenching Wembley play-off final in which his side were on the receiving end of a couple of hugely controversial calls and finished on the losing side, very harshly.

Like Corberan, when the disappointment started to subside, he could reflect on an outstanding year of progress. Like Corberan, he will also have had cause to think how he could possibly better his remarkable efforts in the following campaign.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Spaniard ultimately came to the conclusion that, with his best player in Lewis O'Brien now nailed-on to leave - the side who beat Town at Wembley in Nottingham Forest would come calling for not just his captain, but also Harry Toffolo - some key loanees to depart and no significant boost to his transfer budget being likely, how could he improve on the club's third-place Championship finish in 2021-22? And go one better.

Barnsley FC head coach Michael Duff, who has been approached by Swansea City. Picture: Bruce RollinsonBarnsley FC head coach Michael Duff, who has been approached by Swansea City. Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Barnsley FC head coach Michael Duff, who has been approached by Swansea City. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Corberan needed an incentive and a key signing or two to encourage him to go again and feel he had a good chance. It was not forthcoming, so he ultimately arrived at the conclusion that he couldn't and elected to leave.

He did not have an immediate suitor at hand, but his stock was high and he was mindful that one soon would. He has ended up at West Brom, via a brief stop at Olympiakos.

Which brings us to Duff at Barnsley, with the 45-year-old already having a club who are keen on his services in Swansea City.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Welsh outfit have approached the former Cheltenham Town chief with a view to taking over at the Liberty Stadium, with Russell Martin to complete his move to Southampton once a wrangle over compensation is resolved.

Like Corberan, Duff will see his leader leave this summer with Mads Andersen, the best defender in League One by common consent in 2022-23, destined for pastures new.

Luton Town are said to be in talks with the great Dane and a number of other clubs at home and abroad have been tracking the 25-year-old, who is widely expected to have played his last Barnsley game with his contract having just 12 months to run. He is as talismanic to Barnsley as O'Brien was to Town and he will leave huge shoes to fill.

Other leading Reds players could well be targeted and while Barnsley are more 'in control' regarding their futures and don't have to sell, money still talks. A key loanee in Bobby Thomas has also left alongside others such as Max Watters and Slobodan Tedic.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

League One may be shorn of two big-hitters in Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday, but several other sides are likely to improve this year such as Charlton Athletic, Oxford United and Portsmouth and will be backed and there remains an undoubted heavyweight in the division in Derby County.

Managers like Duff are worthy of investing in.