Barnsley are expected to have a new head coach by the end of next week with current caretaker Adam Murray one of the main candidates along with Frenchman Valerien Ismael.

 

The Reds have selected a final three, with the other candidate thought to be another overseas coach. 

 

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They were likely to move a step closer to the final appointment at a board meeting last night although a first victory of the season at Millwall tomorrow could tip the balance in favour of Murray who has been the caretaker since Gerhard Struber moved to New York Red Bulls this month.

 

Chief executive Dane Murphy told the Chronicle: “It would be right to say it is Adam Murray, Valerien Ismael and one other. The decision will be made in the short-term. I can’t put an exact time or day on it but it could be 24 or 48 hours or a bit longer. 

 

“In the end it’s a decision made by a consensus of the board and myself.”

 

Ismael has managed various teams in Germany, Austria and Greece and played for Crystal Palace in the 1990s. Murphy said: “Valerien is definitely in the current conversation. 

 

“I would be lying if I said he wasn’t in the final group.”

 

Murray, the former Mansfield Town and Boston United manager, took charge of the 2-2 draws with Bristol City on Saturday then Stoke City on Wednesday.  He is expected to be in charge for Barnsley’s trip to Millwall tomorrow then they have a home game with Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday.

 

Murphy said: “Adam is our interim coach. Based on how he has been able to steady the ship last season and this season, and our performances in the last week, you have to consider him because he’s done such a good job.”

 

“I have always been impressed with Adam and the way he has conducted himself, since I’ve arrived, as a person and professional. He’s a good person and a very good coach. He has a good rapport with everyone. As a director, you want him involved because he understands the club.”

 

Murray is expected to remain at the club whether he gets the head coach job or not.

 

He said: "I think I am being considered. I am more of a club appointment than an manager appointment. I just want to make sure the players are constantly right. If the club see me as a candidate for the head coach role now or in the future, it doesn’t really affect my posiiton. 

 

"Eventually I would like to go back into a head coach role. I have done it before when I wasn’t ready. I am still in the process of making myself better and I am in no rush. I have got an age in my end when I want to be back in as head coach but I am only 39. 

 

"I have told the players there is no pressure on them or me. It doesn’t matter to me if I am chosen as head coach or asssistant coach. I am not looking at this like it’s going to be a major move in my life. It’s not about me or piling pressure on. I have given players the freedom to play and myself to make decisions. We are focused on the games coming up and we need a win tomorrow. 

 

"The first win would mean the world to me in terms of how much work we have all put in. We are that close to being on a winning streak. A win for the players would be the most important thing. It’s not the Adam Murray show. " 

 

Meanwhile, Murphy was disappointed to see Struber leave after he kept the Reds up in the final minutes of last season. He said: “It was always going to be tough to keep a manager of his calibre after his performance last season.

 

“We thought we would have him moving forward, he and I had several conversations. But an opportunity came up that he felt was once in a lifetime to get back in the Red Bull family and take a new adventure in New York. 

 

“He had a release clause in his contract which was met so it was his decision.

 

“It is a surprising move to me as an American who sees England as the mecca of football. But, as a European, there is a shine on the MLS at the moment. 

 

“It may seem strange but, when you take into account that it’s part of the Red Bull organisation and he could end up back at Leipzig or Salzburg, it’s tough to turn it down.”

 

Struber said in his final interview before leaving that Barnsley did not ‘match my ambition’ in terms of signing new players.  Murphy said: “I don’t think that was fair. We tried from the Brentford game at the end of last season until the end of the transfer windows to improve the squad, and we brought in several players Gerhard suggested.

 

“We were all frustrated and I think Gerhard looks back and knows it came across in a way that he didn’t mean it to. I don’t think he holds any animosity towards the board or club.”