The Barnsley miracle – David Flitcroft Achievements hard to match

When David Flitcroft took over at Barnsley at the very end of last year the Tykes looked a sinking ship, as they sat bottom of the table with just 21 points from points from their first 25 games and there being little indication that the club would again beat the relegation trap door.

Yet what has transpired in the past five months or so has been quite remarkable, given that Barnsley yesterday completed a dramatic survival with a point at Huddersfield. This turnaround is all the more impressive given that this has been no ordinary relegation fight, for during the final third of the season the majority of the leagues form sides have been a part of the relegation fight. It has been a battle like no other in recent memory, highlighted by the fact that Peterborough went down with an incredible 54 points and at one stage during yesterday’s breathless final round of games Huddersfield were heading down with 58.

Under Flitcroft Barsnley’s record is beyond impressive for a club of their stature; they have taken 33 points from the past 21 games whilst the young manager can boast a win percentage record of 43%. The achievement is made all the more superb when you consider that this is Flitcroft’s first job, in fact there would have been very few who would have given Keith Hill’s assistant much of hope of even dragging the scrap out to the final weeks. Even after his strong start with the club the run in made survival still appear to be a huge challenge, whilst a thumping home defeat against Charlton five games from the end led to many wondering if the wheels had come off yet they went through their final four without defeat and clinch survival despite games against the likes of Hull, Cardiff and Nottingham Forest

Flitcroft has had pretty much the same squad at his disposal as his Hill bare a couple of inspired signings, with Jason Scotland and Chris O’Grady being the most notable of these. Scotland had looked a dwindling force and when he signed for Barnsley in January and there will have been who would have suggested the club were clutching at straws, yet he has almost been reborn at Oakwell scoring six huge goals. O’Grady had been finding life tricky in the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday which therefore led to the Owls releasing him on loan to Barnsley, a loan spell that has seen him contribute five goals and several impressive displays.

Time will tell whether Flitcroft is simply just enjoying a wonderful management honeymoon period, however there are few who can compete with what he has achieved in the second half of the season. The next task of taking Barnsley past persistent relegation strugglers, something which a fair few managers have been unable to do should give us a key indication of just how good a manager he is.