Town face their penultimate pre-season fixture on Wednesday, when they welcome League One outfit Barnsley to The Envirovent Stadium, 7pm kick off.With the opening League Two fixture against Swindon Town just around the corner, Simon Weaver will be looking for his squad to build on the performance which earned them a solid 1-0 victory against Championship side Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
Barnsley suffered relegation back to League One last season, following three years in the Championship. The South Yorkshire side finished bottom of the table, a year after they reached the Championship play-offs in the covid-hit 2020-21 season.
The Tykes have seen several new arrivals over the summer, including Head Coach Michael Duff, who put pen to paper on a three-year deal at Oakwell. Working alongside Duff is new Assistant Head Coach Martin Paterson.The pair previously shared a dressing room for five-years in their playing days at Burnley. Completing the coaching staff is First Team Coach Martin Devaney who steps up from his role in the U23's.
New signings hoping to make a big impact at the club include experienced striker James Norwood from Ipswich Town, Scottish attacking wing-back Nicky Cadden from Forest Green Rovers, Irish defender Conor McCarthy from St Mirren, centre-back Robbie Cundy from Bristol City, midfielder Luca Connell from Celtic, and New Zealand international goalkeeper Jamie Searle from Swansea City.
Like most clubs in pre-season Barnsley have used their full squad in recent games, earning two goalless draws against Crewe Alexandra and newly promoted Premier League side Nottingham Forest.
Michael Duff was appointed manager in June 2022, after enjoying a successful four-year reign at Cheltenham Town. Having made 700 appearances in a 20-year career, the new Head Coach is no stranger to the English game. Born in Belfast, the 44-year-old is a former Northern Ireland international.
Barnsley becomes only the third club Duff has joined in his professional footballing career, both as a player and a manager. After beginning his playing career at Cheltenham Town, he became a mainstay at the heart of the Robins' defence. His performances over several years earned him a move to Burnley, signing for the Clarets in 2004. Establishing himself in the first team set up at Turf Moor, he became the first player to be promoted to the Premier League on three occasions with the same club.
Duff hung up his boots on an impressive playing career at the end of the 2015-16 campaign, and a year later was appointed as Burnley U23's boss. He then returned to where it all began, taking the reigns at Whaddon Road in 2018. The 2020-21 season saw Cheltenham promoted as champions, their first automatic promotion in the Football League and Duff awarded the League Two Manager of the Season.
Simon Weaver has no fresh injury concerns and will have most of his squad available for selection, including Joe Mattock who sat out of Saturday's fixture.
Town continue to be without the services of Rory McArdle, Will Smith, and Josh Falkingham who continue their rehabilitation from long term injuries.
Tickets are available to purchase online up until 7pm on Wednesday 20th July.