Barnsley look to secure EFL Championship return in SKYBET League One Play-Off Final

Coventry City v Luton Town Championship Play Offs

Michael Duff could lead Barnsley to a return to EFL Championship at the first time of asking, but Sheffield Wednesday will stand in their way at Wembley

Barnsley are set to come face to face with Darren Moore’s Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley on Monday 29th May, with two of the best teams in EFL League One going head to head with the objective of securing a spot in the Championship for next season. It is set to be an enthralling occasion under the arch.

Michael Duff’s Barnsley team had a great season in League One, going on to finish 4th in the table with 81 points – 5 points behind their opponents on Monday, Sheffield Wednesday. They were comfortable going into the final day in the season having already secured their spot in the play-offs.

Should promotion be clinched in the capital on Monday, Barnsley will return to the Championship at the first time of asking after getting relegated from the second tier after finishing in 24th in the table last season.

If we go back to 2002, Barnsley were in trouble. They had just been relegated to the second division and suffered greatly due to the collapse of ITV Digital – this led to the club going into administration, which put the existence of the club itself at risk. Thankfully, Peter Doyle, the mayor of Barnsley at the time, completed a takeover of the club to save it from ceasing to exist.

Fast forward to 2006, which would see Barnsley gain promotion to the Championship at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff after beating Swansea City 4-3 on penalties.

In the 2006/07 season, Barnsley looked in real danger of an instant return to League One, which led to then Manager Andy Ritchie being dismissed in favour of Simon Davey. Davey managed to save the club from relegation to the third tier, leading them to a 20th place finish with 50 points – 8 clear of the relegation zone.

They did however eventually get relegated back down to League One at the conclusion of the 2013/14 season, finishing 23rd in the table on 39 points and 5 from safety.

The 2007/08 season was significant in the history of Barnsley after they beat FA Cup holders Chelsea and (1-0) Liverpool at Anfield (2-1) to reach the semi-finals. Unfortunately, they were unable to beat fellow Championship side Cardiff City, losing 1-0 at Wembley.

Then, in 2016, Barnsley did get their hands on some silverware, beating Oxford United 3-2 to win the English Football League Trophy at Wembley. The club did get promoted back to the Championship after a 3-1 League One Play-Off Final win against Millwall at Wembley.

They were unable to remain in the second tier for more than one season, getting relegated back down to the third tier at the conclusion of the 2017/18 season.

Following the appointment of Daniel Stendel as their new Head Coach, Barnsley finished 2nd in League One with 91 points to secure promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking. This time, the club were able to avoid relegation in their first season back in the second tier, finishing in 21st.

Valérien Ismaël was appointed as Barnsley boss for the 2020/21 season, which saw the club have a fantastic campaign which culminated in a spot in the Championship Promotion Play-Offs after finishing in 5th place. Unfortunately, they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Swansea City in the Semi Finals.

The 2021/22 season saw Barnsley relegated from the Championship, and they will be looking for an instant return to the second tier after getting to the final after finishing 4th this season.

Barnsley secured their spot in this year’s Championship promotion play-offs after beating Bolton Wanderers 2-1 on aggregate after a 1-0 win at Oakwell. It was Liam Kitching with the only goal, which came midway through the first half.

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