It has been a fantastic season to be a Tykes fan, hasn’t it?
After being relegated from the Championship last year, the decision by Chief Executive Gauthier Ganaye to appoint Daniel Stendel as manager was very intriguing. With no previous experience of English football, the German’s arrival was greeted with caution as nobody at Oakwell quite knew what to expect from the 45-year-old.
Keen to prove himself at Barnsley, Stendel started by completely transforming the club’s style of play to incorporate a possession-driven system that would allow them to dominate their opponents. A fluent attack led by the likes of Kieffer Moore and Cauley Woodrow has been complimented by Alex Mowatt and Cameron McGeehan who have excelled in midfield.
However, arguably their biggest strength this season has been their defence with one player, in particular, driving them towards success.
Having spent the early stages of his career at non-league side Dulwich Hamlet, Ethan Pinnock made his big breakthrough after signing for Forest Green Rovers in 2016. An ever-present for the Green Devils, the central defender played a major role in helping the club finally realise their dreams of becoming a Football League side as they beat Tranmere Rovers 3-1 in the play-off final.
Pinnock’s impressive performances for the club attracted the interest of Barnsley who agreed a deal to bring him to South Yorkshire prior to the start of last season. However, despite being an undeniably talented prospect, he only started nine games for the club who failed to avoid the drop under the guidance of then-manager Jose Morais.
With a drop down in level allowing Pinnock to feature more regularly for the Tykes, he has developed into a fantastic defender with his performances earning him a place in the PFA League One Team of the Year (via the BBC).
A rock at the back, the 25-year-old will be hoping to end the season in style by leading Barnsley to a top-two finish which will secure an immediate return to the second tier. Although two victories from their remaining two games for Stendel’s may not guarantee automatic promotion, it will put an immense amount of pressure on their nearest challengers Sunderland and Portsmouth to match their results.
Barnsley fans, what do you make of Pinnock? Join the discussion by commenting below…
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