Barnsley are prioritising signing an experienced centre-back in the final two weeks of the January transfer window, with Gerhard Struber saying that kind of player could make the difference between relegation and survival.

So far in the window, the Reds have brought in midfielder Marcel Ritzmaier – who played 90 minutes on Saturday – and right-back Kilian Ludewig. Current centre-backs Mads Andersen and Bambo Diaby have played the majority of the season, with both making errors as Barnsley have struggled to keep clean sheets.

Head coach Gerhard Struber told the Chronicle: “Signing a defender could be the difference for us. In the whole team, we have top statistics for the league and we are in the top three in some areas. The only bad situation is the individual mistakes in defence. This is our problem. Normally a big talent is able to learn but, when players always make the same mistakes, it is very hard and we must say ‘maybe they are not a big talent.’ We need one player with high quality in the back line and this is very very important to stay in the league. It is our big task in the next weeks.”

Struber said he was not aware of any interest in Norway international defender Jonathan Parr, a 31-year-old who played for Crystal Palace and Ipswich Town, or Austrian striker Adrian Grbic who is currently starring in the French second tier with Clermont. He added: “We have no stress to get new players. We have time to sign players. When I saw the last game (a 2-1 win over Huddersfield) we were going in the right way and developing in my style. We just need more experience, especially in the last line. I am very hopeful and this is a big aim for me and our management and the owner.”

The Reds let Cameron McGeehan go on loan to Portsmouth last week and he played 90 minutes in their 2-1 win over AFC Wimbledon in League One.  Winger Jordan Green has been loaned to League Two Newport County for the rest of the season. The 24-year-old signed for the Reds from Yeovil Town a year ago and made 12 appearances, scoring in a 3-0 success at Southend United in March. But he only started twice and appeared twice as a substitute this season, the last time being at Preston North End in October.

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Struber said: “It is a very good deal for him, for his new club and for us. He was not getting gametime here. He will develop at Newport which is the most important thing for young players. We are looking forward to him coming back in the summer with more experience and he can be an important player us next season in the Championship.”

Barnsley are hoping to move out several other players who are not featuring under Struber such as forward Mallik Wilks, linked to a move to Hull City, and full-backs Dimitri Cavare and Dani Pinillos. Struber said: “I think we are in a good exchange with the players who have no gametime and, in the next week, we have a good decision for these players. We need a win win situation for the players and the club. The decision is coming. 

“We have many options for these players but the most important thing is the player is happy with these options. We will work together and next week we have more information.”

Struber says Barnsley do not have to move players out before new recruits arrive.  Winger Mamadou Thiam, who has not played since September, returned to the first team bench on Saturday but Struber suggested he could still leave. Asked about Wilks, Struber said: “He has a similar situation to Mamadou Thiam. He is young and needs gametime every week. We will speak to him about going on loan or the other one.”

Defender Toby Sibbick had started every game this season before being dropped after Struber’s first match in November. The 20-year-old has since featured just once as a substitute and was not in the squad on Saturday for the first time since he signed from AFC Wimbledon last summer.  Struber said: “Toby is a talent but it is not easy for him with no gametime.  We speak with him about a situation for a loan. We have had a good exchange with him.”