BARNSLEY FC are set to trim their squad of fringe players and may utilise their links with the other clubs owned by their owners.

Striker Patrick Schmidt is likely to be loaned out, with a possible destination being Danish top flight club Esbjerg which was purchased by Paul Conway and Chien Lee’s consortium earlier this year. The 23-year-old Austrian striker, who signed a four-year contract in 2019, has made 41 appearances for the Reds but only four have been league starts.

He netted crucial late winners against Millwall and Nottingham Forest in his first season but, after barely featuring under Valerien Ismael in his second season, he was loaned to Ried in Austria from February and scored once in ten appearances.

Marcel Ritzmaier may return to Rapid Vienna, where he was loaned to for last season in October, either on loan or permanently. The 28-year-old Austrian midfielder joined the Reds in January last year and made 22 appearances. His contract expires in a year.

Elliot Simoes could also be loaned out – potentially to French second tier club Nancy, who are owned by Barnsley’s owners and whose president and head coach are former Oakwell employees Gauthier Ganaye and Daniel Stendel.

The 21-year-old winger did not play under Stendel at Barnsley, but then featured 27 times for the Reds before being dropped from the first team set-up by Ismael in November and loaned out for League One Doncaster Rovers for whom he played ten games.

Another who could be loaned out is Luke Thomas who has ‘come out the other side’ of his mental health issues that caused him to end his season early in February and has the full support of Barnsley Football Club, says chief executive Dane Murphy.

The 22-year-old winger forced through a loan move to Ipswich Town in January but only played five League One games before announcing he was taking a break from football for ‘my physical and mental health.’

Murphy told the Chronicle: “At the end of the day, football players are human just like everyone else.

“We all have issues, we all go through difficult times.

“Luke has come out the other side extremely strong and the fact that he was able to voice his concern and seek help is testament to his character and strength as a young man.

“Luke is part of the family and a tremendous kid with a big heart who loves the game.

“We’re on his side and we’ll give him all the support he needs.”

Thomas has been linked with a loan move to Bristol Rovers, near where he is originally from, as well as Nancy to re-unite with Stendel who played him regularly at Barnsley.

Clarke Oduor and George Miller, who barely featured under Ismael in 2021, could also be loaned out.

Isaac Christie-Davies, Jack Aitchison and Matty Wolfe were all loaned last season but are currently expected to return to pre-season training with the Reds.