Daniel Stendel has confirmed that Lead YDP coach Dale Tonge, will be working with the first team for the next three matches.
‘Tongey’ as he’s affectionally known to most, will work closely with Stendel following the departure of Andreas Winkler to Premier League side Huddersfield Town on Thursday morning.
The former Reds academy graduate has been coaching at the club since 2014, having previously played for his hometown club from the years of 2003-2007.
On his new coaching assistant, Stendel said: “We’ll stick together and I think we’ve found a good solution for the next few days with Dale Tonge. We spoke yesterday about what I expect and I think he’s a good option for us and the team, and I’m happy that he’s going to be involved.
“We are looking at other coaches, but, for at this time, Dale will support us. It’s important that you have someone who you trust and I think we have that with Dale. However, my English still isn’t as good as I want it to be and, sometimes, I need a translator and a German coach would help, but I’m happy with Dale.”
After being appointed to the role for the next three matches, Tonge felt proud to be joining a set-up that brings back memories of his promotion winning years in 2006, from the very same division that the Reds are attempting to leave now.
“I’m delighted that the Gaffer has asked me to step up,” Tonge told barnsleyfc.co.uk. “Of course, like all other coaches, I was in contact with Daniel and the other staff since their arrival, but now I’ll be working day-in-day-out with him and the rest of the staff.
“Things are clearly going well, so I need to learn quickly what the Gaffer wants from me and help to assist in every way I can. There are three quick games coming up and they are all vital for our chances of promotion. Even though I have been in the academy for a few years, I obviously watch the first team every week and I am as passionate as anyone about us getting back to the Championship, I’ll do everything I can to help with that.”
Stendel has been clear from minute one that Tonge will help on an interim basis, but the Head Coach has not ruled out a permanent position amongst the staff for his new Assistant. Tonge, however, just wants to focus on the now, so isn’t looking too far ahead.
“It’s not about me at the moment,” Tonge explained. “I’m really pleased to have been given the opportunity to help out and we’ll see what happens at a later date. Right now it’s about winning. I’ve pulled on the Barnsley shirt as a player and had some success, I’ll be just as proud in the coming matches to help with the coaching side, but we need to get the points first and see what happens later with me.
“I’ve had lots of nice messages of support from people in the game, so thanks for that, but now it’s time to get to work. I’ve been out on the training pitches this morning and enjoyed it, so let’s just look ahead to Rochdale.”
The final word was from the Head Coach, a message of reassurance to the fans following Winkler’s departure, stating that he’s pleased to see Tonge join, stating that he is part of the ‘identity’ of the club, something the fans can relate to.
“Over the last six months, we spoke with all the academy staff about how we want to play in the first team and what we want to play at the academy. He’s a good guy and has a great character and mentality, which is a good fit for our staff and squad. It’s good that people want to stay and work hard for success, and Dale is part of the identity of this club; he lives here, he played here and he’s worked for Barnsley, which is a big point for us.”