THERE has been an eerie quiet around Barnsley FC since the play-off loss despite the anticipation of the announcement of the retained list and the new head coach.

Oakwell has this week hosted the under 18s, under 21s, the all-conquering women’s team, and a Sunday League cup final but it is unconfirmed who will be in the dugout or on the pitch next season.

There are almost three months until the season starts and six weeks until the players return for pre-season training. The Reds have time to make the right decisions.

But some positive news and a sense that the club is moving forward would be welcomed by the majority of a fanbase concerned by the end of last season and the amount of change that clearly needs to be made this summer.

There is plenty of work to be done and rivals for next season have been much quicker in appointing new managers and signing players.

The whispers that Daniel Stendel could return with Reds legend Conor Hourihane as player coach has excited fans. They are both thought to have been speaking to the Reds about a return.

It is unclear how the head coach and captain of the last two promotion teams would work together – and if Stendel could repeat the magic of five years ago with a very different squad – but it is certainly an interesting prospect.

Whoever comes in must rebuild.

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Most of the out of contract players are expected to leave this summer.

That includes the majority, if not all, of Jordan Williams, Devante Cole, Herbie Kane and Nicky Cadden – the four highest appearance-makers this season who have played more than 500 games between them for the club.

While they all, to different extents, had mixed seasons, that will be a lot of experience and quality to replace in one window – with loanees Liam Roberts and John McAtee’s deals also having ended.

In some ways it will be good to have a clear-out. Many of those players carry the scar tissue from at least some of the three play-off semi-final losses in the last four seasons and the abject relegation in the other one.

If they do all depart, that leaves the club needing, at least, a goalkeeper, probably two left-backs, and, although there are plenty of numbers up front, at least one new striker. Central defence and midfield will be looked at too.

And all that is before we factor in that players who are unlikely to play much may want to leave while the Reds usually sell at least one star man every summer.

This time Luca Connell, Adam Phillips and Fabio Jalo look like the prize assets.

They all have several years left on their contracts so the Reds can hold out for a reasonable fee but it will be a surprise if all three remain in September. Selling the right players for the right money and having the right replacement is an art the Reds are yet to fully master but they need to do so this summer.

It is realistic to expect the number of new players in for next season to be in double figures.

Meanwhile, League One looks like being a tough division next season.

The third tier in English football will contain clubs owned by NFL star Tom Brady and Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds.

The three relegated clubs Birmingham, Huddersfield and Rotherham will be among the favourites for an immediate return, while the likes of promoted Wrexham will hope to continue their match up the leagues.

But there are also a plethora of teams who appear well-positioned to launch a promotion push. Wigan do not have points deductions, Charlton look promising under Nathan Jones while Blackpool, Leyton Orient and Lincoln all came close to the top six last season.

Then there are Peterborough, Barnsley’s fellow beaten semi-finalists, and whoever loses tomorrow’s final between Bolton and Oxford.

It looks like another competitive division and the Reds must make smart decisions in the coming days and weeks to ensure they are near the top of it.