Robins’s future at Oakwell is put under cloud as Barnsley decide to give him 12 months’ notice

BARNSLEY manager Mark Robins is heading for the exit door at Oakwell.

The former Manchester United striker has been told that his existing contract will not be renewed at the end of next season.

However, the Tykes have not ruled out the possibility of drawing up a new deal – although that will hinge on results next season and whether the club are in the hands of new investors.

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Robins, 41, is considering his future at Oakwell as cracks grow in his relationship with club owner Patrick Cryne.

The Tykes have finished the current campaign in the club’s highest league position for a decade – albeit 17th in the Championship.

But Robins, who quit Rotherham United to move to Oakwell two years ago, recently admitted that he was in the dark about the club’s plans this summer.

He also voiced concerns that uncertainty over the club’s future might harm progress next season.

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Cryne, who has been Barnsley’s major benefactor for the last seven years, was unavailable for comment last night due to illness. Robins declined to comment.

It is believed that Robins is employed on a 12-month rolling contract at Oakwell with both parties required to serve a year’s notice if they intend to break that agreement.

The Tykes are set to clarify the situation with a statement today and that is unlikely to herald the immediate departure of Robins.

Barnsley supporters were demanding answers on websites and questioning the wisdom of the club’s board last night. If Robins has been served with 12 months’ notice it means he will be free to leave the club at the end of next season.

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That could prove a positive if he leads Barnsley to success as it would allow him to talk to other potential employers in the knowledge that they will not have to pay compensation to his current employers.

However, it will be a clear advantage to the club if the team has performed badly because it means they would be able to dispense with the manager’s services without any need to pay compensation.

In Barnsley’s current situation – where owner Cryne is looking to sell up or find new investors – that is a gamble arguably worth taking.

It would put pressure on Robins to deliver the goods next season if he is prepared to stay and tolerate the lack of job security.

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Robins was linked with Coventry City towards the end of last season and will be aware of the current managerial vacancy at neighbours Sheffield United.

However, there is strong competition for the job at Bramall Lane with former West Brom manager Roberto Di Matteo, Doncaster Rovers’ Sean O’Driscoll and Blades’ Academy manager John Pemberton in the frame.

If Robins feels the time is right to sever his ties with Barnsley, he can always walk away but would not be entitled to payment on next year’s contract.

Overall, it is a far from satisfactory situation for the club and one which has not been helped by leaking of the news yesterday afternoon.

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As a player, Robins was a prolific striker for clubs including Manchester United, Norwich, Leicester, Walsall, Sheffield Wednesday and Rotherham. He got his first major break in coaching six years ago when appointed assistant to manager Alan Knill at Rotherham and stepped into his shoes in March 2007.

The Millers were docked 17 points by the Football League for breaking rules exiting administration but Robins guided the team to a respectable 14th-place finish.

He was targeted by Barnsley after the sacking of Simon Davey in September 2009 and the club flirted with play-off qualification in his first season before dropping to a final position of 18th.

Adding to the intrigue last night were rumours that former Hull City and Derby County owner Adam Pearson could be a candidate for investment at Oakwell.