Daryl Dike's rise to prominence explained by Barnsley FC chief Valerien Ismael

BARNSLEY head coach Valerien Ismael believes that some painstaking work on the training ground and Daryl Dike's ability to get up to speed quickly have been the key factors in the striker's stunning rise to prominence in the Championship.

Barnsley FC striker Daryl Dike pictured celebrating after scoring in the 1-0 derby win at Huddersfield Town. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Barnsley FC striker Daryl Dike pictured celebrating after scoring in the 1-0 derby win at Huddersfield Town. Picture: Tony Johnson.

The young forward, 20, who joined the Reds on loan right at the end of the winter window from MLS side Orlando City, will remain with the club for their play-off participation, which begins on Monday evening with a semi-final first-leg encounter against Swansea City at Oakwell.

The Reds will be backed by 4,528 fans – as Oakwell stages a game in front of spectators for the first time in over 14 months.

Sporting venues across England are now able to welcome back some supporters following a further easing of restrictions by the Government as part of its coronavirus recovery road map.

Some fortunate supporters will get their first glimpse of Dike in action, with the USA international having netted nine times since arriving at the club and being widely viewed as one of the major influences in their outstanding rise into the top six.

The move to bring in Dike is looking like of the best transactions of any EFL club early in the new year.

Dike arrived shortly after being capped for the first time at senior level by the US. It enabled him to fulfil immigration criteria to head to England.

On the secret of Dike's success, while paying tribute to the work of chief executive officer Dane Murphy in terms of tapping into his contacts in the States to bring the highly-regarded attacker to South Yorkshire, Ismael commented: "With Dane Murphy, we spoke in December and we targeted a striker we had three names among our list and 'Dee-Kay' was on that list.

"It was important to have a striker to make the difference and Dane sent me the clips and I recognised it's a player for us.

"They told me it could be a tight situation with him because the transfer window is closing and he played with the national team, a game he needed to play to have the possibility to come into England, so we took a big risk, but the feeling was there that he was the player for us.

"It was the right decision, but a lot of credit goes to Dane because he got the job done.

"Transfers in winter windows you don't have as much time, so the player has to have an immediate impact. As a manager, that's always in your mind.

"We took our time to work with him in training and he understood quickly what we wanted to see on the pitch for him for him to be able to make the difference.

"We have so many key players now in the team, Daryl Dike is among them, but we don't depend on just one player for the goals. We have so many key players who can make the difference.

"The big step we've made this season with the team is that the danger comes from everywhere and that is the big improvement."