Valerien Ismael on his plans to rotate Barnsley FC's defenders

Barnsley defender Michael Sollbauer. Picture: PABarnsley defender Michael Sollbauer. Picture: PA
Barnsley defender Michael Sollbauer. Picture: PA
JUST as Barnsley’s renewed options up front offer him the chance to rotate, head coach Valerien Ismael is also envisaging a similar situation with his backline.

The arrival of Carlton Morris and Daryl Dike in the winter window has added to the Reds strength in the final third with Ismael successfully electing to rotate in Sunday’s outstanding win at Brentford.

Ismael promoted Morris and Dike to the starting line-up, while Cauley Woodrow and Victor Adeboyejo - who started the FA Cup game with Chelsea - came on from the bench with the Reds chief making a triple attacking substitution early in the second half.

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With Aapo Halme likely to be in the fray for Saturday’s game at, Ismael will also have increased options in the heart of his backline, with his numbers increased by the return of Toby Sibbick to the club at the start of January.

It has ensured that Michael Sollbauer, a mainstay in the backline since joining the club, has contributed from the bench in recent times.

Ismael has stressed that Sollbauer - who did return to the starting line-up on Sunday with Sibbick replacing him midway through the second half - has a big future and believes that competition for places is part of a successful environment at Barnsley.

That competition at the back will increase when Liam Kitching is fit, with Jordan Williams being another option on the right-hand side of defence if needs be.

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Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s home game with Blackburn, Ismael said: “All players are important and Solly is very important for the team. He is a personality.

“But we have quality. Toby Sibbick is very young and a big talent for the club and he needs to play as well.

“But we know that with Solly, we have a solid centre-back who is calm and can play at any moment and give his experience and it is important for us to have that possibility to make that change.

“At the end of the week, we will have Aapo Halme back as well. For sure, we will have more possibilities in the centre-back positions to rotate.

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“We have the quality and that is a good thing. It does not matter who is on the pitch and the quality remains high and this is a good thing and feeling for me to have the choice.

“Aapo is back in training, but I need to give him two or three more days to train with the team and have more confidence. He will be back very soon and it is more for the weekend.

"It was important to see that all the guys could raise their own performance. You need this to get the points and move up the table. It will be the same against Blackburn. We need to sustain that level, but be focused on the result.

“The guys know exactly what they have to do now to get the result and performance. We need more desire to get the result.

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