Promotion-winner Dale Tonge plugs gap as Andreas Winkler swaps Barnsley for Huddersfield Town

BARNSLEY head coach Daniel Stendel has revealed that he has a potential name in mind to replace his former assistant Andreas Winkler, but says he is in no rush to make a quick appointment.

Winkler has joined Premier League Huddersfield Town to take a position in their coaching team, a move which sees him renew acquaintances with his former colleague Jan Siewert, the Terriers’ new head coach.

Stendel has subsequently promoted lead academy coach and former Reds player Dale Tonge – who has responsibility for all the age groups under 16 – to work alongside him at first-team level for the next three games.

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Despite having a target in mind in his native Germany to take on Winkler’s role on a full-time basis, Stendel is not ruling out a scenario where Tonge continues to work alongside him for a longer stint if all goes well.

Questioned if he has a possible replacement in his thoughts to take on the role of Winkler, Stendel said: “Yes, but not really ‘two hundred per cent’. I cannot say, ‘okay, he will come tomorrow or next week’.

“Maybe we will have nothing in the next weeks and we play the season with just this staff until the end and we see in summer.

“I have not two hundred per cent decided. My concentration and focus is only for the next three games.

“I think we have a good solution with Dale Tonge. I think he is a good option for us and the team and I am happy he will work with our team.

Moving north: Andreas Winkler has left Barnsley to join the Jan Siewerts coaching staff at Huddersfield Town. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

“We will start and then we will see.”

Tonge, 33, who hails from Bolton-upon-Dearne, has been part of Barnsley’s academy set-up for several years, and played for the Reds between 2003-07.

The former full-back was part of the Barnsley side who were promoted to the Championship via the play-offs under Andy Ritchie in 2005-06 and Stendel is confident that Tonge’s promotion will prove a popular move with fans – as well as representing the right call.

Stendel added: “I think at this time when maybe the supporters from Barnsley have the impression that people all leave the club, it is good when we say that people want to work hard for success. Tongey stands for the identity of this club.

Promoted: Barnsley's former Rotherham United player Dale Tonge

“He comes from Barnsley and has played and worked for the club. It is a big point for us.

“I spoke with him and I said, ‘did you play for Barnsley when they were promoted?’ and he said, ‘yes’ and I said, ‘you can tell me your secret to get promoted to the Championship’.

“But the big point is that he is good coach and we will see after these three games what we do.

“With Dale, we have a good guy who can help us. Dale and Andreas spoke together about the task and it is clear he cannot immediately work the same. But we all spoke about the situation with my staff and said we can close the gap after Andreas has left.”

Stendel admits that on a human level he is sad that Winkler has elected to leave the club, but accepts his decision from a professional perspective.

The move has seen Winkler, 48, join forces again with Town head coach Siewert, with the pair previously working together at Rot-Weiss Essen, as director of football and coach respectively.

Stendel, who says that Mike Bahre is rated at ‘50-50’ for tomorrow’s home game with Rochdale, said: “I wanted him (Winkler) to stay, but from the outside it is a big chance for him to work in the Premier League.

“I am disappointed he left. I thought we worked very well in the first seven months together, but it is the way in football.

“Andreas was also very sad after he told me of this offer. It is a big chance for him, but on the other side he liked to work for this club.

“He worked very well and the people in Barnsley liked his personality.

“We will miss him, but Huddersfield is not so far and at the moment he lives two apartments next to me.”