LATEST UPDATE : Barnsley has concluded on 46-year-old as their new manager: view

According to reports, Duff might return to Oakwell after leaving for Swansea City last summer. Barnsley may make a surprise bid for former manager Michael Duff following their play-off loss, despite the 46-year-old leaving the club only last summer.

The Yorkshire club was defeated in the League One playoffs for the second season in a row this week, falling to Bolton Wanderers by a thrilling 5-4 aggregate score.

This was despite shining in the second match at the Toughsheet Community Stadium, where they won 3-2.

Unfortunately for Barnsley, the damage that would see them eliminated had already been done in the first leg, when Bolton won 3-1 at Oakwell.

Barnsley related to Michael Duff reunion.
Alan Nixon reports on Patreon on a possible reunion between Duff and Barnsley.

According to Nixon, the Tykes are mulling a comeback for their former manager, who left last summer to join Championship club Swansea City.

Michael Duff: Swansea City sack head coach after less than six months in charge - BBC Sport
Of course, Duff’s tenure at Swansea did not go as planned, with the 46-year-old fired by the Welsh club in December.

Since then, Duff has been without a club, and Nixon says he is willing to return to Oakwell to work with assistant Martin Devaney.
Barnsley’s problems this season are a continuation of the Tykes’ anguish in the 2022/23 season, when they lost the playoff final to Sheffield Wednesday thanks to a late Josh Windass strike.

They have been unable to find the correct recipe to return to the Championship at the second attempt, thus they will spend the 2024/25 season scrapping for a promotion spot.

Barnsley appeared to be on track to return to the second level after signing manager Neil Collins in July 2023 and bringing in numerous excellent players last summer, including John McAtee. Collins was fired in April 2024 after a succession of poor defeats against Cambridge United, Charlton Athletic, and Stevenage.

Following Collins’ sacking, caretaker manager Martin Devaney is keeping the ship afloat until the club announces a permanent replacement.

Swansea City: Ex-boss Michael Duff to make Championship return? - BBC Sport

A return to form in League One is possible under Duff.

If Barnsley rehires Duff, they could return to excellent third-tier form.

Duff’s favored tactical formation as manager has always been a counter-attacking 3-5-2. During his initial spell at Barnsley, he used a striker pairing in this formation that looked quite spectacular at times. Duff returns to a familiar and comparable team.

He motivates his squad to press high and maintain their shape, bringing a winning attitude from his experience at Cheltenham Town, when he won the League Two title.

His lack of success with Swansea City may have simply been because it was a career move made too early, when there is still so much he could do with a League One

Clubs like Barnsley. As such, bringing Duff back to Oakwell would be a wise decision for the club.

Under Duff, they had nearly identical figures as winners Plymouth Argyle in 2022/23, surrendering the same number of goals but scoring only two fewer.

Despite being out of job since December 2023, Duff has the potential to return to Oakwell and lead the team to a successful season. The side is often one of the stronger outfits in League One, with their lack of promotion largely due to sides like Plymouth Argyle and Ipswich Town being leagues above the division in terms of skill.

Duff may face difficulties next season with the entrance of Championship-relegated heavyweights Birmingham City and Huddersfield Town. Former employees may have had the financial resources to try to bulldoze their way to a quick promotion.

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