Martin Devaney is ‘quietly very proud’ to have been asked to lead relegated Barnsley as caretaker for the final three games of the season and will ‘grab the opportunity with both hands.’
The former Reds winger, who played 176 games for the club before working as a coach in the academy, will be in charge for the last three Championship games after the departure of Poya Asbaghi yesterday – two days after relegation was confirmed with defeat at Huddersfield Town.
He is due to take charge of the home game against Blackpool tomorrow from 7.45pm.
Devaney said: “I am quietly very proud. It’s been a lot of hard work to get to this stage. It’s fantastic that the club is giving me this opportunity to grow develop and develop my skills. I will grab it with both hands.”
Devaney said he was not aware that Asbaghi, as he alleged in an interview with a Swedish news outlet, had told the club in March that he would be leaving at the end of the season.
Asked if he wanted the job permanently, Devaney said: “I am just concentrating on the here and now. It’s a club I love. I had six great years as a player and even more as a coach. I am probably a Barnsley lad now and the fans appreciate that. I will enjoy it and there is no pressure, I have relayed that to the players.”
He added: “The last 24 hours have been manic. I have been given the responsibility for the last few games and I am looking forward to it.
“There are no expectations, it’s just about trying to perform at the best of our abilities and that the team is fully prepared and organised. We want to deliver some form of results, I know it’s been difficult this season but we want the team to perform at a high standard and hopefully get a win.”
Devaney worked alongside Asbaghi and his assistant Ferran Sibila in the first team set-up from January until this weekend. He said: “Being promoted to the first team was exciting, working with two guys with different philosophies but learning new things. But it’s down to me now to just to enjoy it. I feel ready for it and I will certainly make sure the players are.”