Barnsley chief executive Dane Murphy says it wouldn’t ‘make sense’ to sell any star players in the upcoming January transfer window and wants to see how far this current team can go. 

With five weeks until the window opens, the Reds have won four of their six games under Valerien Ismael, who has taken them up to 14th in the table.

There is expected to be interest in top-scorer Cauley Woodrow while midfielder Callum Styles and centre-back Mads Andersen are both understood to have been monitored by other clubs after showing excellent form since football re-started in June. 

Murphy told the Chronicle: “This group has earned the right to have a full season together and to see how far they can go. 

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“It doesn’t make sense for us to sell any of our core players in January. 

“It will be strange market again. 

“We need to understand that, if we want to have a good season in the league, we need to keep this squad together – that’s the consensus among the entire club. 

“We have already had interest in a few of our players, more feelers than actual offers. But it doesn’t make any sense for us to engage in that. 

“Of course there will be interest when players are doing well, but right now it is not reciprocated. It makes sense for this team to have at least a full season together and see how far they can go.

“It wouldn’t be right for some of these players to take the jump too early in January after just a few good months. 

“Players want to get to the highest level but we have a smart group who are united in having a good season so we’re not worried about heads being turned in January. Some clubs will have to make some money in January by whatever means necessary but we don’t find ourselves in that position.”

As for recruiting players in the window, Barnsley are hoping to add strength in depth up front and in defence. 

Murphy said: “I think we have one of the best strikers in the league in Cauley Woodrow and it can probably wear thin on him to hear that we’re looking for a new striker.

“We would like to add depth in that position but, when Cauley is playing as he can and scoring goals, we will be fine. 

“We have a very good defence but, with such a condensed schedule, a couple of injuries means the depth you think you have quickly dissipates. We’re looking across the defence to make sure we are covered in every position.

“We have made a lot of headway on the work we want to accomplish in January. 

“It won’t be a window in which we are lingering. I am hoping we can get things done quickly from January 1.” 

The Reds had been attempting to sign a striker in the free agent market but are now likely to wait until January. 

They made contact with the agent of Mario Balotelli, the former Manchester City star and Italy international. 

Murphy said: “Mario played for our owners in Nice so there is a relationship there. There was a mutual interest between Barnsley and Mario so I had a very pleasant conversation with his agent, but it didn’t go much further than that. Mario has a lot of options on the table but he’s evaluating what is next and what is best for his career. 

“He said, right now, it wouldn’t be the best time and we also agreed it wasn’t the best time for this partnership. 

“We are happy to wait until January to sign players. Never say never but I don’t foresee anything happening.”

Meanwhile, Barnsley captain Alex Mowatt’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season. 

The 25-year-old midfielder told the Chronicle last month he hoped a new deal could be agreed ‘within a few weeks’. 

Murphy said: “It’s still ongoing. Alex is playing so well and the team is playing so well. There is mutual respect in the negotiations, we’re taking our time and both sides are evaluating the situation. 

“It would be stupid to promise or guarantee anything but I have a good feeling about it. He’s a great kid, a great player and our captain so all of that leads me to believe things are going in the right direction and we can get something done.”

Mowatt’s central midfield partner Matty James’ loan from Leicester City is due to expire in January. Murphy said: “Matty  has played extremely well and he’s a huge boon on and off the field. 

“He’s a great player who has played at a higher level and there is a confidence and ability to galvanise the group that oozes out of his pores. When it’s cold, dark and muddy, he pushes the guys when they need to be pushed. I have spoken to Matty and his representatives and he’s enjoying his time here. It’s basically going to be up to Leicester and what they want to do with him.” 

On Ismael, who has been at the club for a month, Murphy said: “He’s done an incredible job in a short period of time. 

“He has galvanised the group, tweaked the tactics a little bit and moved us in the right direction. 

“He is no fuss and no nonsense, very assured of himself but makes our players comfortable. The atmosphere around the group is very strong right now.”