BREAKING NEWS : Barnsley make a surprising appointment of a 40-year-old manager to replace Neill Collins.

MK Dons head coach Mike Williamson is rumored to be on Barnsley’s radar as they look for Neill Collins’ replacement.
Barnsley are looking for a new manager following the shocking dismissal of Neill Collins.

The Tykes parted ways with Collins last Monday, with only one game remaining in the season, after a run of just two wins in 11 games threatened their playoff spot.

Martin Devaney was in temporary control for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Northampton Town, and despite Louis Appere’s 96th-minute equaliser for the Cobblers, the point was enough to keep the Reds in the top six.

Barnsley concluded the season in sixth position and will meet Bolton Wanderers in the play-off semi-finals.

Just like last season, the opening leg will be held at Oakwell on Friday night. However, it is unclear who will be in control of the game after the Tykes’ chase of Austrian coach Dominik Thalhammer came to a halt.

According to Alan Nixon, Thalhammer signed a proposal to become Barnsley’s next manager last week, but the club was unable to announce him owing to work visa concerns.

Mike Williamson: MK Dons appoint Gateshead manager as head coach - BBC Sport

Thalhammer is waiting to see if he qualifies for a work permit because he hasn’t worked in nearly a year since leaving Belgian side Oostende, and if the deal falls through, the Reds are apparently considering MK Dons head coach Mike Williamson.

Barnsley’s interest in Mike Williamson is understandable

It would be a significant blow to Barnsley if Thalhammer is denied a work permit, but it is easy to see why Williamson is regarded as a viable alternative.

Williamson started his managing career with Gateshead in June 2019, and three years later, he led them to the National League North title.

Dominik Thalhammer (Cercle) voor de Brugse burenstrijd van vanavond: “Elke  ploeg heeft een zwakke plek” | Foto |

Gateshead had a successful first year back in the National League last season, finishing 14th in the table and reaching the FA Trophy final, and they were in the play-offs until Williamson left for MK Dons in October.

Williamson took over a Dons team that was 16th in League Two following an eight-game losing streak that led to Graham Alexander’s dismissal.

The 40-year-old has entirely turned his club’s fortunes, and following a considerable improvement in play, they have emerged as serious automatic promotion hopefuls.

The Dons’ top three aspirations were dashed earlier this month with a 4-1 home defeat to promotion rivals Mansfield Town; nevertheless, after finishing fourth, they appear to be in a strong position moving into the play-offs, where they will face Crawley Town.
Williamson has won 20 of his 36 games in charge of the Dons, drawing five and losing 11, for an outstanding win rate of 55.6%. However, it is Williamson’s attractive, possession-based style of play that has earned him a lot of praise.

Of course, there are hazards associated with such a style of game, and the Dons have been susceptible defensively this season, conceding 68 league goals.

However, Williamson’s team is the fifth-highest scorers in the division, with an astonishing 83 goals, demonstrating the clear benefits of his method.

Williamson has demonstrated a lot of potential in the early stages of his managerial career, and at 40, he still has opportunity for growth, making him an attractive alternative for Barnsley if Thalhammer is unable to be appointed.

It appears unlikely that Williamson would leave Stadium MK just days before the play-offs, so the Tykes may have to stick with Devaney for their own play-off campaign, but he would undoubtedly be tempted to move to Oakwell in the summer, and he could be the ideal candidate to lead the club forward.

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