A look at Barnsley's squad by position at the start of an important summer.


Loanee Liam Roberts was excellent in the first half of the season but one of several to dip towards the end, never quite playing as well after returning from a finger injury in December. He is now out of contract at Middlesbrough who have released him.

The Reds have taken their option to extend number two Ben Killip’s contract by another year, but he is set to remain as the back-up.

Barnsley have had success with finding goalkeepers in recent decades and must do so again, whether it is Roberts or someone else. If the new head coach wants to play out from the back, or play a very high line with a ‘sweeper keeper’ behind it, then Roberts’ kicking and ability on the ball, which is weaker than his generally superb shot-stopping, could be an issue.


The Reds have three senior players under contract in that position for next season

Corey O’Keeffe improved throughout the season and eventually became first choice over Barry Cotter who was still occasionally brought on, in part for his long throw.

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They also have Kyran Lofthouse who played regularly for a top end League Two side in MK Dons in the second half of the season.

They are unlikely to keep three through the whole season so, depending on who the new manager rates from pre-season, one could leave at least on loan.

All three are more suited to the wing-back role rather than a right-back in a back four, with the system for next season unclear like so much else at the club currently.


This has been a position that the Reds appear to have shown relatively little interest in recruiting in recent years.

Nicky Cadden – who was released this week – is the only player signed permanently and specifically to play at left-back or left wing-back since 2017, and even he had been converted from a winger at his previous club.

They have signed young loanees who have had limited gametime such as Owen Dodgson, Ziyad Larkeche and Remy Vita while converting players from centre-back, right-back and even midfield like Callum Styles.

Styles, should he remain at Oakwell for next season, will be an option there but he is another who looks likely to leave.

Josh Earl could play left-back in a back four.

While there is an abundance of right wing-backs, the Reds need to create some strength in depth and competition on the left flank with a couple of new signings.

With Sam Cosgrove expected to play a bigger role next season after his play-off heroics, whoever is brought in in this position – especially if playing as a wing-back – must provide consistent quality of crossing from the left.


Plenty of quantity, but is there the required quality?

The back three was nowhere near as effective in 2023/24 as the previous season before Mads Andersen, Bobby Thomas and Liam Kitching all left.

A back three of Mael de Gevigney, Donovan Pines and Earl could be promising in League One but they all have improvements to make. De Gevigney and Earl were part of a defence that struggled badly towards the end of last season.

Then there are Kacper Lopata, Jack Shepherd and Conor McCarthy who were all sent out on loan in January but are still under contract, plus highly-rated youngsters like Nathan James.

It is vital that, whoever the new boss is, they find a solid defence who make limited errors while also improving the collective defending of the team – especially from set pieces.

The Reds have mostly played a back three across the last several years and have recruited accordingly but could return to a back four depending on the head coach.


Luca Connell and Adam Phillips are likely to be two players monitored by other clubs this season.
Phillips – who is 26 and one of the best attacking midfielders in the third tier – is under contract until 2026, with a further year option in the club’s favour.
Connell, 23, is also contracted until 2027 and, despite having a difficult season after illness ruled him out for months, is clearly a superb talent with a bright future.
The Reds’ model is to sell and they are going into a third year in the third tier without the financial windfalls the Championship supplies.
A multi-million offer for Phillips or Connell, or teenage striker Fabio Jalo, may be tempting.
Also still under contract are Josh Benson, who has suffered serious injury problems, and Jon Russell who has rarely been first choice but may have an opportunity to force his way in this summer.
It is unclear if they will trigger their buy clause for Conor Grant who impressed off the bench against Bolton in the play-offs, but the wording with the retained list suggested they would not.
There are also some highly-rated youngsters coming through such as Vimal Yoganathan and Jonathan Bland.
Herbie Kane, an experienced operator and skilled player, has left while Matty Wolfe has been offered a new deal as he recovers from injury.


With Devante Cole and John McAtee leaving, the Reds have Sam Cosgrove, Max Watters, Andy Dallas, Oli Shaw, Jalo and Aiden Marsh.

Those six players have 12 league goals between them for the Reds, in more than 100 appearances – mostly from the bench.

Cosgrove was excellent in the play-offs, with three goals, but needs to repeat that form consistently while, if the Reds employ another high-pressing manager, that may not automatically suit the tall targetman.

The recruitment of strikers in general has been disappointing, with Dallas and Shaw loaned out while Watters spent the second half of the season with the under 21s.

Some more pace in attack would be welcome and add a different dimension to the team.

New strikers may arrive but the incoming head coach will also be expected to get a lot more out of the existing front men.