Valerien Ismael on Barnsley FC's transfer plans

BARNSLEY head coach Valerien Ismael has stressed his desire for the club to do their incoming January transfer business early to give any new signings the time to get up to speed as soon as possible.

Valerien Ismael

The Frenchman has enjoyed an impressive start to his Oakwell tenure, but is keen on the club adding to their options in the New Year to boost his options and give him the best possible chance of building on his impressive opening.

As it stands, Barnsley are sixth in the Championship’s latest 12-match form guide, heading into their scheduled festive derby fixtures against Huddersfield Town and Rotherham United.

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The Reds start 2021 with a tough trip to Norwich City and are also due to face Swansea, Watford and Cardiff in January.

Securing the services of loan midfielder Matty James for the rest of the season is one of the first priorities for the club followed by a couple of pieces of incoming activity.

Forest Green defender Liam Kitching is reportedly one of the club's targets, with some suggestions that a deal has already been struck. But it is understood that is not the case yet.

On the club’s transfer plans on the signings front, Ismael said: “We have prepared ourselves for January and we are hoping to get things secured and finished (to) what we would want to add relatively soon.

“This is our purpose and focus as we do not have time to prepare something and when the January window comes, we have to keep going.

“We need players on the first day that they are ready, so they are fit, fresh and motivated to come to us and willing to come to us and play this way of football.

“For that is the profile for players to exactly pass this position.”

Meanwhile, Ismael has reiterated that the club remains intent on rebuffing interest from rival suitors in any of their leading players, with retaining them being arguably more important than any incoming business.

He commented: "For sure it is normal when we perform like this (in good form), that the interest is growing. But our ambition and purpose is not to sell the players in January.

"We want to keep the players and improve the squad. We know we have to do this and need all the power we can have to improve the squad, do better and have more possibilities."