FRIDAY POLL: Troubled Tykes back Wilson to revive fortunes

BARNSLEY chief executive Ben Mansford says that Danny Wilson will be given time to turn around the Reds’ fortunes, despite a stuttering first half of the season.

Barnsley manager Danny Wilson.

Wilson’s second spell in charge of the Oakwell outfit has so far failed to reach anything like the heights of his magical first stint at the club which culminated in a never-to-be-forgotten promotion to the top-flight for the first time in the Reds’ history in 1996-97.

The 54-year-old could not arrest the Reds’ inexorable slide to relegation from the Championship last term and the club currently find themselves in a disappointing 14th place in League One, just four points above the drop zone and seven points below the play-off pack heading into this weekend’s clash at Walsall.

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Given Barnsley’s hoped-for aim of a top-six finish this season, the club have much work to do if they are to fuilfil that criteria.

But Wilson retains the solid support of club owner Patrick Cryne in his quest to turn things around and inspire a play-offpush, according to Mansford.

Despite the bitter blow of relegation, which effectively cost Barnsley £6m, Cryne has been unstinting in his support of the club and has sanctioned a competitive playing budget, which has enabled WIlson to sign the likes of Conor Hourihane and Sam Winnall on six-figure fees.

While both have justified that outlay, team results have been patchy, although Wilson can count on the backing of the Oakwell hierarchy, aware that he undertook a virtual total overhaul of the playing squad in the summer.

Mansford told The Yorkshire Post: “We thought we had turned the corner, but then we find ourselves having lost two and drawn two of our last four matches, which is a bit frustrating.

“Every time we have these runs, it puts a bit of focus on Danny. But he is a very, very good manager and he is working really hard and his staff are supporting him very well as well.

“When you release 21 players in the summer and bring in 16 and four young scholars sign as professionals and seven development professional contracts are handed out, that transition is going to take time.”

This month marks the first anniversary of Wilson’s second managerial stint at Oakwell, which arrives on Wednesday – the day after the Reds visit Conference outfit Chester in a tricky FA Cup second-round replay.

He is also due to join the select band of managers who have taken charge of 1,000 professional matches later this month, with Wilson’s milestone game coming on December 20 when Barnsley host Leyton Orient.

Wilson may have proved a figure of longevity in the managerial realm for two decades, taking charge of seven different clubs, but security of tenure in the Oakwell dug-out has proved a different matter for his contemporaries.

Wilson is Barnsley’s eighth manager in just over a decade, with the club – and more specifically Cryne – pinning their hopes on him finally providing the managerial stability they have palpably lacked in modern times.

Alongside first-team results, Wilson and his staff are also helping to bring a number of academy talents through with the likes of James Bree, Brad Abbott and Mason Holgate all providing hope for the future. Mansford said: “What Patrick wants to do now is build from the bottom up and chopping and changing managers is not what gives you that solid foundation.

“We are hoping that Danny, his staff and the playing staff with a window or two to shape things, will make sure that Barnsley will be competitive in this league for the foreseeable future and in the next year or two, our aim is to return to the Championship.

“Patrick has always been keen to effect change. But as a club, we are accepting we have made a lot of changes to the playing staff and the coaching staff, particularly since Micky Mellon left.

“No rash decisions will be made, so long as Danny and his staff work towards the ultimate aim of looking towards the top six and towards promotion back to the Championship.

“We feel the club are in good hands with Danny.

“For Danny to have had such a distinguished playing career and now nearly clock up 1,000 games as a manager is a testament to the managerial career he has had.

“He really does possess the calmness to go with the experience he’s had.

“Danny will know what is required to arrest any ongoing periods without a win.”

Meanwhile, Mansford believes that Barnsley owe an ongoing debt of gratitude to owner Cryne and his family, who despite shunning the limelight have provided robust and invaluable financial support to the club in some difficult recent times.

With Barnsley’s turnover slashed in the wake of relegation and with limited funds able to be ploughed back into first-team recruitment, Cryne, not for the first time, has come to the Reds’ assistance.

Mansford added: “The owner has been remarkable over the past 12 months and, in particular, the last six months.

“We have had to cope with half of our turnover disappearing overnight following relegation to League One from the Championship.

“But he has stood by the club and single-handedly put the budgets to the levels they are at is an absolute testament to Patrick Cryne and his family.”