BARNSLEY are prioritising signing strikers as well as a right wing-back and have at least one deal ‘ongoing’ but are set to go into at least the first match of the season with their current squad.
The Reds’ League One campaign starts tomorrow at Plymouth Argyle then the transfer window closes a month later at the end of August.
Head coach Michael Duff said during a Friday evening radio interview that a medical had been done and a signing was likely on Saturday.
Duff told the Chronicle: “That’s still ongoing.
“There are a couple of things we need to further investigate before anything gets announced.”
Southampton right wing-back Kayne Ramsay is understood to have been at Oakwell earlier in the week.
Duff refused to comment on Ramsay.
Barnsley have sold strikers Cauley Woodrow and Carlton Morris as well as right wing-back Callum Brittain.
Duff told the Chronicle: “You look at the players who have left. We have sold two centre forwards and a right wing-back. We need to replace them.
“We’re looking to strengthen everywhere. If a good player becomes available who we can sign, we will take them.
“But the priorities are replacing the players who have left.”
Barnsley’s right wing-backs are Jordan Williams, who is not yet totally match-fit after surgery earlier this year, as well as Will Hondermarck and Jordan Helliwell who have both also been used in central midfield.
Duff said last week that Barnsley wanted ‘one or two’ strikers, and hinted they were looking at loan deals which might not happen until later in the window.
They currently have Devante Cole, Jack Aitchison, Aaron Leya Iseka and new signing James Norwood up front as well as teenagers such as Aiden Marsh. Neither Norwood or Iseka are thought to be currently at full fitness.
Duff said: “It’s not rocket science to work out we need more goals in the team. But there are opportunities for people in the squad to put their hand up and say ‘I am your man.’
“We proved last week (in a 2-1 friendly win over Sheffield United) we can score goals. Devante and James Norwood have scored goals at this level, Jack Aitchison had a good season last year. But I won’t lie to them and say we won’t try to bring in at least one more forward.”
The Reds could also strengthen their central midfield, following the injury to Herbie Kane who is likely to be out for up to six weeks.
That means Barnsley’s three-man midfield in Duff’s 3-5-2 system could be new signing Luca Connell, 21, academy product Matty Wolfe, 22, and Josh Benson, 22 – although Callum Styles is still at the club despite being expected to be sold this summer.
Luke Thomas could also be involved, possibly off the bench, to add a more attacking element. Asked if he wanted to bring in more attacking threat from midfield, Duff said: “We’re trying to do that. I could go and sign loads of players but they need to tick the boxes in terms of finances, age, position. But that is an area we are trying to strengthen.”
Barnsley have had to sell players to offset the expected shortfall in revenue of roughly £7-8million due to relegation.
They are thought to have made about half of that back with the sales so far as well as the removal from the wagebill of some big earners.
Centre-back Michal Helik and midfielder Styles are both thought to be likely to sold this summer.
But they have trained this week and played in Saturday’s friendly – Styles from the start and Helik for 20 minutes off the bench after recovering from an ankle injury. Helik is thought to be unlikely to start at Plymouth tomorrow but Styles may. Duff said there have been no bids for either of them.
Goalkeeper Brad Collins and centre-back Mads Andersen are also thought to have been of interest to other clubs.
So far, the Reds have signed centre-backs Conor McCarthy and Robbie Cundy, goalkeeper Jamie Searle, midfielder Luca Connell, left wing-back Nicky Cadden and striker Norwood.
Duff said: “We have sold players and bought players for nothing.
“That tells you where the club is at. But the players who have come in have adapted well and they are hungry.”
Duff is expecting more movement across English football in the next month. He said: “Normally there is a cascade effect from the Premier League clubs coming back from tours and letting younger players go. Then everything moves along the food chain. We know, if a Championship club are looking at them, they will go there. So we have to sit and wait and get the right ones.
“This season starts with a month left in the window so it’s slightly different to normal. There is a still a long time left so no panic.”
Right-back target Ramsay came through the Chelsea youth system before moving to the Saints aged 17.
He made his professional debut in the Premier League against champions Manchester City in December 2018, aged just 18. He was then loaned out to League One clubs Shrewsbury Town – playing six games in early 2020 – and Crewe Alexandra for whom he made 19 appearances in the first half of last season.
He then played eight times for Scottish Premier League side Ross County earlier this year, scoring his first professional goal. His last appearance saw him sent off in a 4-0 loss to Celtic.