BARNSLEY chief executive Khaled El-Ahmad is reportedly close to leaving the club but, on the pitch, the Reds are hunting consistency with one quarter of the League One season completed.

Reports in the Swedish press claim El-Ahmad is favourite for the role of ‘head of football’ at Stockholm club Hammarby, who play in the top flight.

El-Ahmad, who is from Sweden, has been chief executive at Oakwell for just over two years. The Reds have declined to comment when approached by the Chronicle about the story.

Meanwhile, Barnsley are fourth in the League One table with 19 points from 11 games. They lost 1-0 at home to Blackpool on Saturday then won 4-0 at Cambridge United on Tuesday – meaning they have won seven of their last nine games in all competitions.

Now they are due to make an even longer trip to Exeter City tomorrow.

Head coach Neill Collins told the Chronicle: “Consistency in terms of results is important and consistency in terms of performances will bring that. Now and again we might not get the results we want.

“But we will just try to continually get better. We have consistently improved bit by bit, maybe more in some areas and not so much in others.

“The most important thing is: can we get consistency in the line-up?

“That should mean players are in good form and holding their place.

“There will still be ups and downs for the next ten games. I look at our back three and they have had two games together. The current midfield have probably only had a few more.

“Throughout the team we continue to try to build the relationships and get the best of the players we have.”

Is Collins happy to be fourth after a quarter of the season?

“I always want better, and more. I look at the games we have lost, the way we have lost them, and think to myself: ‘we could easily have been better off.’

“But I am aware we could have been worse off. We could easily have lost at Bristol Rovers.

“As long as we continue to learn, hopefully we will find ourselves higher up.

“I am not too concerned about league position right now. It’s very tight.

“Had we not been successful at Cambridge, people might have been concerned because we might have been tenth or something.

“We didn’t have any expectations for points or results. But I think the players have done a fantastic job.”

Collins is glad that Barnsley generally have bounced back from defeats this season with good results in the following games.

“The players have really impressed me in terms of their willingness to accept feedback but also give their feedback about what went wrong and what we need to do better. We just want to keep getting on good runs of form. Teams at the top always go on good runs.”

After the Exeter match, Barnsley will have a two-week break from action because Bolton Wanderers postponed their planned trip to Oakwell on October 14 due to international call-ups.

Their next game will be a trip to London to visit Leyton Orient on October 21, before they host Shrewsbury Town on the 24th and Fleetwood Town on the 28th.

Collins said: “It’s catch-22. We want to continue playing but we will be off, the players will get some time off then work hard in training. Hopefully it will pay us back because, once we get back, it will be really busy with the EFL Trophy and the FA Cup. If we make the best of it, it could be really useful.”

One of the areas the Reds are hoping to improve is the number of shots they have conceded on Liam Roberts’ goal.

“In an ideal world, we would have games when Liam hasn’t had a save to make. But, in the EFL, it is very difficult at times. You can give away a free-kick on the halfway line and, before you know it, the ball is in your box and they can have two shots.

“But it is one thing we are looking to do.

“One of the better ways of doing that is to be even better down the other end. We are looking to improve every aspect.”