Valerien Ismael says a new striker and centre-back are his priorities for the January transfer window, and he hopes Barnsley can do their business early.

Chief executive Dane Murphy has said that the Reds will be looking in January for more strength in depth up front and across their defence.

Ismael agreed that those are positions which need strengthening, as they look to provide top-scorer Cauley Woodrow with more back-up up front and strengthen a back three which has made recent errors.

With three weeks until the window opens, the head coach told the Chronicle: “We are looking for a striker and a centre-back. We are looking hard with Dane, we stay close together in communication.

“We need to have the player quickly, we don’t have time to wait because the Championship is running. We have to see what we can do to improve in my principles and way of playing. We need more flexibility in some areas of the team.

“The first thing for both the positions is intensity, to work hard and give qualities we want to see in the team – and to increase the quality of the team overall.

“This is the big challenge for us to find the right player in January. We want to have the possibility to change the line-up from game to game because, in the Championship, it is difficult to have only the same players every game.”

Murphy has insisted that the Reds will keep all of their key players in January.

The likes of Woodrow and young talents Callum Styles and Mads Andersen are thought to be of interest to other clubs. Ismael told the Chronicle: “That is very important for us but some players improve in every game.

“They are getting much much better but our plan is to keep all the important players in the winter window so we can be more competitive from January and have more options.”

Meanwhile, the Reds may look to trim their squad during the window.

Striker Patrick Schmidt has not played in eight matches since starting in the 3-0 loss at Cardiff City on November 3, although he has been on the bench for all of those games.

The Austrian has made 32 of his 36 appearances in the league for the Reds off the bench while Michal Helik has played twice as many league minutes for the club in total, despite signing a year later.

Schmidt scored last-minute winners last season against Millwall and Nottingham Forest but, this season, he has played as many minutes as Marcel Ritzmaier who left the club on October 5. He seems to have fallen below Victor Adeboyejo and George Miller in Ismael’s preferences.

Asked about Schmidt, Ismael told the Chronicle: “Since I am here, I think I give all the squad a chance to show what they can do. I try to have a wide vision about the players. But now I know more of my players and my team and that is why I take the decisions I have taken.

“Every player wants to play but all I can say is ‘if you play, take your chance’.

“Patrick has to be patient, like other players. Sometimes you are in the team but sometimes you have to wait.

“He got his chance then, after, Victor got his chance.”

Midfielder Elliot Simoes has not been in a first team squad since being taken off in the first half in Cardiff.

Isaac Christie-Davies has not played since his signing last summer while the 23-year-old midfielder has been in only one matchday squad and has never played a league game in his career.

Winger Jordan Green, who has not played for the first team in more than a year, has been with the under 23s since the end of his loan at Southend United.

German midfielder Mike Bahre is recovering from surgery on his groin.

He has not played this season as he was out of favour under Gerhard Struber.

Ismael – who was second team coach at Hannover96 where Bahre was a youth team player – has said he will talk to the 25-year-old about his future once he is fit.

When the UK leaves the European Union on January 1, English clubs will have to use a points based system to bring in players from EU nations.

The rules suggest that the Reds would not be able to bring in the equivalent signings of defenders Helik and Andersen.

There are also new rules for recruiting overseas coaches, which could prevent the Oakwell club, in the future, from bringing in the likes of Ismael and his predecessors Struber and Daniel Stendel.