TOBY Sibbick is looking forward to playing the ball out from defence under Markus Schopp but believes Barnsley will not repeat the errors of the 2019/20 season as he says: ‘when the ball has to go, it has to go.’
Whereas his predecessor Valerien Ismael favoured a more direct approach with regular long balls, Schopp has encouraged his side to build up from the back in pre-season.
Sibbick remembers the errors the Reds made in that style under Daniel Stendel when he first arrived at the club but believes they will find a good mix this season.
The 22-year-old centre-back told the Chronicle: “We’re all looking forward to passing out from the back, we’re all learning our patterns of play.
“But, when the ball has to go, it has to go. You saw the errors that we made when we first came back into the Championship as a club. We want to cut that out from our game and be more precise in our passing without giving away cheap goals. That’s what we’re trying to erase from our game.”
Sibbick’s Oakwell career underwent a dramatic turnaround last season as, after being loaned out to Hearts and KV Oostende, he came back in January and became a regular in the team that reached the play-off semi-finals.
Michael Sollbauer, who competed with Sibbick for the right-sided centre-back role, has now left the club – meaning the former AFC Wimbledon defender is expected to play more regularly.
“It’s a big opportunity for me but nothing is ever guaranteed. There are great centre-backs at the club. If I play, I have to make sure I keep my place. I want to train well every day and hopefully my name is in the starting 11.”
Sibbick admits the Reds are hoping to challenge for the Premier League again.
“We have higher expectations now. When you have tasted that bit of success, you’re hungry for more.
“Everyone has a great relationship with each other and we want to take that extra step this season.
“I don’t see why we can’t with the talent that we’ve got.”