Michael Duff on clocking up the miles and the importance of family in his Barnsley journey

THIS MONDAY morning - like every other since becoming Barnsley manager - Michael Duff will embark on the 150-mile drive from his family home in Cheltenham to his place of work in South Yorkshire at the crack of dawn.

If he did not choose football, there's a fair chance that Duff's specialised subject on 'Mastermind' would be 'junctions of the M5, M42 and M1.'

His time on the road is part of the ticket for the 45-year-old.

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Family comes first for Duff, whose kids Tommy and Jack are settled at school in the Gloucestershire town and while family time may not be as much as it used to be, it's precious.

Michael Duff. Picture: Getty Images.Michael Duff. Picture: Getty Images.
Michael Duff. Picture: Getty Images.

Duff told The Yorkshire Post: "It would be quite interesting if you got a GPS (tracker) of all the managers at six in the morning on Monday migrating across the country.

"You make a lot of your phone calls because I am never on the phone when I am at home. I make sure I have done all those (hands-free) in the car; there's no excuse.

"It's important that I am a dad and a husband (at home). When I drive back, I spend most of my time on the phone as when I am at home, I can't be on the phone. It is a big deal as they (family) were part of the decision to come.

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"I didn't say 'I am taking the Barnsley job, see you later.' They have invested in that and there is definitely a Barnsley supporters branch in Cheltenham now.

"We had 28-29 at the (Cheltenham) game and they came back to the house after and Martin (Devaney) had 24 at the game.

"The family come up for a lot of games and watch at home and my mum and dad still come up.

"My wife and kids weren't at the Derby game, but both my mum and dad and in-laws all came.

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"That helps me as they invest in my career and the support network allows me to do what I do."

The bedrock of 'Team Duff' is wife Jess, who manages the family while her husband is at work with the day of a football manager being notoriously long.

Duff continued: "People don't see the commitment.

"On Monday morning when it is hammering down with rain, the wife is the one walking the dog and I have a 15 and a 12 year old and they have something on every night of the week.

"She is having to do that while I am about watching football.

"It's really important that bit is settled and sorted as it allows me to crack on as this is a job that you can't do half-cock."