Four Barnsley players have been named in the Football Manager Team of the Season for Sky Bet League One and Daniel Stendel has been selected as Manager of the Season.
The Reds quartet is made up of Adam Davies, Ethan Pinnock, Alex Mowatt and Cameron McGeehan, all of whom have been instrumental for Stendel’s side – who are aiming to secure an immediate return to the Championship.
Skipper Davies has enjoyed a tremendous campaign for Barnsley and has kept 18 clean sheets in the league so far. His natural leadership has been evident this season and the Wales international stopper proved to be invaluable with a number of stunning stops – including penalty saves at both Peterborough United and Portsmouth.
With just 28 goals conceded, the Reds have the best defensive record in the third tier and Pinnock has been a commanding presence at the heart of a solid back line – playing every minute of League One action. The 25-year-old joined Barnsley from Forest Green Rovers in 2017 and has established himself as one of the best defenders outside the top two divisions of English football.
Midfield maestro Mowatt had a loan stint with Oxford United last season, but he has certainly caught the eye this campaign with a number of outstanding strikes from long range – most notably his howitzer against Scunthorpe Untied at the start of February. Not only has the 24-year-old contributed with goals, his work-ethic, drive and creativity have been evident in the Reds’ engine room, and he has been an integral cog in Stendel’s machine.
McGeehan, like teammate Mowatt, spent the second half of last term on loan in League One and returned to Oakwell better for the experience. The former Northern Ireland youth international had to bide his time this campaign, but he grasped his opportunity with both hands following the unfortunate injury to Kenny Dougall in October. Since then, the 23-year-old has wowed the Reds’ faithful with a number of stunning performances and has also chipped in with valuable goals to help Barnsley push for promotion.
After arriving in South Yorkshire in the summer, Stendel hit the ground running with a thumping 4-0 victory over Oxford United on the opening day. Barnsley fans immediately took to their new German Head Coach, who picked up 15 points from the opening seven games.
Since back-to-back defeats against Sunderland and Wycombe Wanderers, the Reds have gone 19 games unbeaten and climbed from seventh to second in League One, playing a dynamic, attacking brand of football that has rightly seen the former Hannover 96 boss named Manager of the Season.
“I am honoured to receive such recognition," said Stendel. "This is a proud moment for me personally, but I have to thank my staff who work with me every day so that we achieve our goals. I must thank my players because it is they who go out there and deliver on a matchday, they have worked so hard this season.
“Thank you also to my fellow managers and coaches for voting for me. This is my first year in England and so it’s a real special feeling to be named Manager of the Season.
“But we are not at the end of the season, we have more hard work ahead of us and I can promise our supporters that we will continue on our way, to give our all in the fight for promotion.”
We will be catching up with Adam, Ethan, Alex and Cameron shortly – keep an eye out on barnsleyfc.co.uk for all the reaction from these incredible achievements!