Barnsley made a perfect winning start under new head coach Neill Collins with Devante Cole bagging a hat-trick in their thumping 7-0 victory over Port Vale.

First half goals from Devante Cole and Dan Jones’s own goal set them on their way before Cole’s second half double ensured he took home the matchball.

Further strikes from Liam Kitching, Jon Russell and Andy Dallas made it an even more emphatic scoreline.

While this was long since rumoured to be the post Michael Duff and Mads Andersen era, it also heralded a new start up front too with talismanic striker James Norwood sold to non-league Oldham Athletic on Thursday.

New head coach Collins selected Kitching as captain and Luca Connell and Adam Phillips missed out due to illness and suspension respectively.

Goalkeeper Liam Roberts, new central defender Kacper Lopata and Corey O’Keeffe, at right wing-back, all made their debuts and Callum Styles returned to the starting eleven following last season’s loan spell at Championship side Millwall.

The visitors did the early pushing and it took an alert bit of defending from Jordan Williams to deny livewire Ellis Harrison a shot on goal.

Barnsley’s first shot came through the same man but he lashed wide from distance after some tricky play by Nicky Cadden down the left.

O’Keeffe’s anticipation set up Cole for the opener on 23 minutes. He intercepted a loose ball and rampaged down the right before picking out the front man with a perfect pass to slot home.

Vale were stung into action and so was Roberts as he denied Harrison’s powerful header with a diving save.

O’Keeffe was then forced off with an injury and replaced by Barry Cotter.

Barnsley doubled their advantage on 45 minutes with Cadden’s cross turned into his own net by Dan Jones.

The Reds picked up where they left off in the second period and quickly stretched their advantage on 47 minutes with Cole smashing beyond Connor Ripley from Cotter’s pass.

Cole got his third in some style on 53 minutes as Vale were caught in possession in their own half and Cole ran menacingly through on goal. His effort trickled just over the line despite Ripley getting a strong hand to it.

Kitching got in on the act on 60 minutes. He latched onto a clever ball from Herbie Kane before lashing clinically into the roof of the net.

Cadden then set up Russell for the sixth on 64 minutes. The Jamaican international buried a perfect header into the bottom corner from a free-kick.

Barnsley could afford to coast through the rest of the encounter and Collins used his bench to freshen up the XI with debuts handed to Dallas, Theo Chapman and Jack Shepherd.

There was still time for another with Dallas making it seven from Cotter’s cross deep into injury time.

Barnsley: Roberts, O'Keeffe (Cotter 33), Williams, Lopata, Kitching (c) (Shepherd 75), Cadden, Kane, Styles, Russell (Chapman 75), Cole (Dallas 75), Watters (Shaw 61).

Unused subs: Killip, Winfield.

Port Vale: Ripley, Cass, Smith, Grant (Arblaster 70), Clark (Chislett half time), Jones, Massey (Thomas 56), Sang, Ojo, Garrity, Harrison (Iacovitti 70).

Unused subs: Leutwiler, Plant, Wilson.

Attendance: 13,798.

Referee: David Rock (Hertfordshire).