BARNSLEY have added centre-back to the list of positions they are looking to strengthen this month, after Tom Edwards’ injury, with Michael Duff admitting the priorities for the window may now have to be reassessed.
The Reds – who are in the League One play-off places – went into the January transfer window hoping to sign at least one striker and a right wing-back.
They have so far brought in striker Max Watters on loan from Cardiff City last week and there are 18 days remaining in the window.
But Stoke City loaneee Edwards, who has impressed on the right of a back three, is now expected to be out for two or three months with a knee problem.
That leaves Mads Andersen, Liam Kitching and Robbie Cundy as the only fit senior centre-backs.
Head coach Duff admitted they will now look to recruit in that position as well as at right wing-back.
The situation was due to be discussed in a ‘big meeting’ late on yesterday with chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad and the recruitment team.
Asked if Edwards’ injury, and the need for a replacement, could prevent signings in other positions, Duff told the Chronicle yesterday morning: “I will know more after the meeting.
“It’s difficult for me to comment on the budget. I don’t know if there is any money or not. I don’t even know what our budget is. It’s not my job.
“My job is to coach the players and make them better.
“It looks like we will need another one (defender) in so that might affect something else further down the line.”
Duff added: “We were looking at two or three but it might go up to three or four now because of Tom’s injury.
“We don’t want to remodel the whole squad because we’ve recently gone two months unbeaten but we do need to strengthen in some areas.”
Duff said yesterday there were no incoming deals close.
They have been linked with 19-year-old Manchester United striker Charlie McNeill but Duff said he was not a target he was aware of.
They are thought to have been interested in Cardiff’s striker Kion Etete and right-back Tom Sang – both of whom played for Duff at Cheltenham – but both have been playing for the Championship club recently.
Asked earlier in the week if Barnsley are still looking to sign another striker as well as Watters, Duff told the Chronicle: “If the right one comes up, yeah.
“I don’t know where we’re at with the budget.
“If the board say we can sign someone, we will sign someone.
“If they don’t, we won’t.
“But we are trying to strengthen.”
He added: “Getting Max in early takes the pressure off a little bit because you are not waiting and waiting and waiting.”
The other area the Reds had been looking at is right wing-back.
Jordan Williams is a regular starter but has had injury issues while the other players used there this season have been midfielders out of position.
Duff said: “We want competition for places and it’s one area of the squad where we probably don’t have a like for like replacement.”
Barnsley are hoping to keep all of their first team players this window, with interest expected in captain Andersen as well as others.
Duff said there had been no bids for any players and added: “I don’t think we’ll lose any of our starting 11.”
Barnsley are sixth in League One going into tomorrow’s match at Charlton Athletic.
Does their position make them more attractive to potential signings?
Duff said: “I hope so.
“It’s a lot easier to recruit when you are doing well than when you are in a relegation scrap.
“We have a body of work where we can say to a player: ‘this is what we do, this is how we look, we think you can add to it.’
“We have given ourselves the opportunity to hopefully push for the play-offs. Hopefully anyone coming in can help cement us in there.”