Poya Asbaghi's Barnsley priorities revolve around formations, fitness and form

Poya Asbaghi officially starts work as Barnsley coach today and he will already realise he has a big job on his hands.

Consecutive wins for Hull City - the first at Oakwell - have breathed new life into them, and Cardiff City have picked up too since Mick McCarthy's dismissal.

Barnsley are where they were the day Markus Schopp was sacked - one from bottom, four points from safety. The only difference is that they have three fewer games - 28 - to do something about it.

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The new coach needs to hit the ground running, with a first game at home to Swansea City, so what are his most pressing priorities?

NEW COACH: Poya Asbaghi has taken over as Barnsley's new head coach

Choose - and coach - a formation

Under recent coaches, Barnsley have been a three-at-the-back team, whether it be the 3-5-2 of Gerhard Struber or the subtly different 3-4-3s of Valerien Ismael and Schopp.

Asbaghi appears to be a fan of 4-2-3-1.

Perhaps it was with that in mind that Joseph Laumann sent his team out in that shape for the final game of his caretaker spell - they had been 3-4-3 in the others.

The only problem being, the formation did not work. How much of that was down to the shape itself, how much was being up against the best team in the division is open to debate, but Asbaghi will have seen the team improve greatly when it reverted to a more familiar set-up.

Food for thought.

Start getting Barnsley's best players performing at their maximum again

One of the Reds' biggest problems this season is that key performers last term, such as Romal Palmer and Callum Styles, have just not hit the same heights this time around.

Asbaghi needs to speak to them, to Lauman, to anyone whose brains he can pick to try to find out why and do something about it because whilst it might be better than the league table suggests, Barnsley's squad is not good enough to carry passengers.

Stiffen the midfield

Perhaps Barnsley's biggest problem under Schopp was one the Austrian identified from the off - a lack of experience in the centre of midfield after Alex Mowatt followed Ismael to West Bromwich Albion.

The board ignored his pleas for help, instead signing Claudio Gomes and Josh Benson - two talented youngsters without a Championship appearance between them - to fill the gap.

It will be January before the Reds can dip into the transfer market - the chances of an experienced, available free agent being match-fit before then are slim - and they cannot wait until then to get their season up and running, so the solution needs to come from within.

Perhaps if Asbaghi does revert to two centre-backs, the other could become one of the midfield holders. Schopp used a centre-back in there at times but Jasper Moon was inexperienced too.

Keep them concentrating until the end

You should never leave a Barnsley game early. Half the first-half goals Barnsley have conceded this season have come in the final 15 minutes, along with three of the eight they have scored. It is even more pronounced in the second half, scoring three of their measly five goals (two of them when Sheffield United came off the gas at 3-0 up) and conceding eight of 17.

It might be that they are not fit enough, which seems ludicrous when you consider how much work Ismael was putting them through last season. Maybe Schopp was just not scary enough, but it is hard to see Asbaghi being as imposing as Ismael was either.

Perhaps the biggest issue - and this might be linked to fitness - is concentration as the game reaches its conclusion.

Whatever the problem is, Adbaghi needs to identify it and deal with it.

Get Obbi Oulare and Carlton Morris and firing

A decent chunk of the compensation money Barnsley got from West Brom went on striker Obbi Oulare, and so far the return on their investment has been 14 minutes of football. Schopp was clearly not a fan but the club hierarchy were, coming back for the Belgian in the summer after missing out on him in January.

The coach's job is to make the most of the players he is presented with, and belatedly getting Oulare firing as his compatriot Aaron Leya Iseka has done must become one of Asbaghi's big early projects.

Iseka's emergence suggests the Iranian might have timed his arrival well, especially with Carlton Morris making his first appearance since August at the weekend. Barnsley have badly missed the forward and although it will take time for him to get back up to speed, the sooner the better.