Barnsley are spending the first international break of the season returning to a ‘normal squad’ after a freak spate of injuries left them without eight first teamers.

Head coach Daniel Stendel was briefly bookmakers’ favourite for the vacant job at Huddersfield Town this week but it was offered to Nigel Adkins yesterday.  After the goalless draw at Wigan Athletic on Saturday, the Reds have 15 days without a game before hosting bitter rivals Leeds United on Sunday, September 15. 

Stendel told the Chronicle: “The international break has come at a good time. We can work on things in training but the big thing is that some injured players can come back for our next game. We want to get back to having a normal squad with normal options before the Leeds game which is a big one for the club. We will collect our energy during this international break.”

The Reds are hoping to get most of their injured players back to full fitness during the break.  Cauley Woodrow, last season’s 19-goal top-scorer, has missed the last three games after injuring his calf against Charlton Athletic on August 17.  He was joined on the sidelines for Wigan by the Reds’ two first choice central midfielders Alex Mowatt and Cameron McGeehan who each picked up injuries in training last week.  

Woodrow, Mowatt and McGeehan all have a chance of returning for the Leeds game as do centre-back Bambo Diaby, who missed Saturday’s game with an ankle problem, as well as winger Jacob Brown who is yet to play this season due to a hamstring problem.

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Right-back Jordan Williams was on the bench on Saturday after struggling with a hip injury.  Stendel says other players in the squad have to replace them if they do not return. He said: “We have some injuries from pre-season or last season like Kenny Dougall. “But the last injuries like Cauley Woodrow, Cameron McGeehan and Alex Mowatt were small situations in training or the games and very unusual injuries. 

"But sometimes that happens and I said to the other players that this is their chance to show me you can play.  Maybe sometimes they haven’t been good enough in pre-season or training but they can change my impression in games.”

Central midfielder Dougall, who has been out since March, is getting close to returning to full training.  Goalkeeper Sami Radlinger is expected to be out until December with a knee injury.

Another player who will miss games in the next month is left-back Ben Williams who was sent off late on at the DW Stadium.  He has received a three-match ban which will keep him out of all the September games as Barnsley host Leeds before visiting Nottingham Forest then hosting Brentford. 

Despite Williams’ red card, Stendel was happy with his side’s performance in the 0-0 draw at Wigan where the visiting fans applauded them off the pitch a week after a 3-1 home loss to Luton Town.  I am very proud of the players.  The reaction in a not so easy situation was very good. 

“You could see the fans understand that Barnsley needs one unit from the team, club and supporters and it was good we had so much support especially after last week.  This was a good sign for my players and I think our performance was a good sign for the supporters.”

Barnsley have collected five points from their first six games of the Championship season following promotion from League One in May. They have not won in six games in all competitions since the opening day of the campaign. 

Stendel said: “Honestly, I want to have more points than five after six games of the season.  But, on the other side, we had the chance to win against Charlton at home (a 2-2 draw) then we would have seven points. The important thing is that we have a good reaction and we collect points in the next games. The games are not easy in September but I can see the players are working hard to improve in training.”