Preston v Barnsley - Alex Mowatt stands alone despite Tykes’ success

QUESTIONED about whether Barnsley having just one player named in the EFL Championship Team of the Year rankled with him, Valerien Ismael’s answer was pretty dry and witty.

The club who to most onlookers have produced the Championship story of the season saw just one player, captain Alex Mowatt named in the side.

The manager’s vote also went to Norwich City’s Daniel Farke instead of his good friend Ismael, unable to count on any parachute payments at his club’s disposal unlike Farke’s Canaries.

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The influence of finance in the division is laid bare by the fact that two relegated clubs cushioned by parachute money in Norwich and Watford have made an instant return to the big time. A third in Bournemouth are fancied to complete a clean sweep.

Barnsley's Alex Mowatt. Picture Tony JohnsonBarnsley's Alex Mowatt. Picture Tony Johnson
Barnsley's Alex Mowatt. Picture Tony Johnson

As to whether a comparative lack of recognition can inspire his own players, Ismael said: “We know this (Barnsley’s qualities) and this is why we don’t need this (inspiration).

“For sure, at the end of the day, the players have to get what they deserve with their (team) performances.

“If for the people, if it is normal that Barnsley are in the play-offs, then this is ok...

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“I cannot understand the decision, it is not normal, it is a massive performance with a low budget and the youngest team in the league.

“To play like that and raise all the expectations is a brilliant performance and a sign in football that anything is possible.”

Instrumental in the club’s rise, talismanic midfielder Mowatt has reiterated that he is putting all thoughts regarding his future to one side until after the club’s season is over.

Mowatt, out of contract in June, has been in talks with the Oakwell hierarchy about extending his time at the club, but therehas been no agreement as yet and the 26-year-old is focusing all of his energies on pitch matters and aiming to follow in the footsteps of former Reds skipper and legend Neil Redfearn and leading Barnsley to the top flight for just the second time in their history.

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He said: “To be honest, everything has just been pushed aside now.

“It is just getting the season (over) and everyone here is focused on promotion and that is what we want to do and then everything will get spoken about after.”

“This (season) is the biggest achievement in my career so far.

“But the job is not done and we want to get promoted now and have got a great opportunity.”

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