Championship previews | Barnsley
Real Championship football fans give the Paddy Power Blog their honest previews for the new season. Here’s Rob Miles from Barnsley Mad on how striker Chris O’Grady can make the difference for the Tykes.
State of play: Barnsley fans won’t forget the ending of the 2012/13 season. Relegated after 92 minutes, safe after 93 on a remarkable day in Huddersfield. Manager David Flitcroft is now looking to build on that great escape (The Reds were bottom, seven points adrift of safety at the end of January) and he has strengthened the squad with the signings of Jean-Yves Mvoto, Dale Jennings, John Cofie and the permanent capture of Chris O’Grady who scored six goals in 16 games whilst on loan last season.
There have also been a major shake-up behind the scenes with the appointment of ex-Manchester United director Maurice Watkins as Chairman and Ben Mansford as Chief Executive.
How’s the gaffer? A hero who can do no wrong. When he replaced his best friend Keith Hill in the hot-seat on December 29, the club were bottom with just five victories. “Flicker” led them to nine wins from the remaining 21 matches to survive on the final day.
Terrace hero: Chris O’Grady was a major fan favourite during his loan spell last season and was the number one transfer target for both manager and supporters this summer. Long-serving Bobby Hassell enters his tenth year at the club so is likely to get a rousing reception in every game he plays.
Big-time Charlie: Whilst most fans were delighted at the players who signed new contracts this summer, the extension for Jim McNulty was met with a bit of bewilderment. He became the scapegoat for the Hill era after some woeful performances and has made just six appearances after Hill was sacked.
Worst away ground in the Championship and why? Most of the ones that are home to fallen giants of the game, such as Birmingham, Blackburn and Middlesbrough. Massive stadiums and only a couple of thousand supporters makes for a non-existent atmosphere.
Which Championship side have the best away fans? As much as it hurts to admit it, Leeds always bring thousands and make lots of noise.
Who is your dream Championship signing? We got it with O’Grady. He will be an excellent acquisition for us. If money was no object fans would love to see Burnley’s Charlie Austin alongside O’Grady upfront.
What is your best terrace chant? In homage to our first choice midfield of Stephen Dawson, David Perkins, Kelvin Etuhu, Jacob Mellis and Jim O’Brien…
‘Tell all the boys you know, we’ve got the best midfield in the world, with Dawson and Perkins, Kelvin Etuhu, Mellis and mighty Jim Boooow!’
- Can Chris O’Grady make the difference? Back Barnsley (+25) on the Championship handicap betting here
- Take a look at the next Championship team here