Barnsley: Daniel Stendel admits shock at Kieffer Moore recovery
Kieffer Moore’s return to fitness even took Barnsley head coach Daniel Stendel by surprise.
The striker was ruled out for the rest of the season with a head injury following a nasty collision against Gillingham on February 9.
The Tykes had missed their 16-goal top-scorer in League One, seeing their automatic-promotion bid stutter slightly by taking 20 points from a possible 33 without him.
But Moore was recently given the all clear to return and was deemed fit enough to take his place on the bench for Saturday’s 2-1 win over Shrewsbury at Oakwell.
The 26-year-old’s two-month exile ended when Stendel brought him on in the 64th minute, replacing Mike Bahre.
And Stendel knows just how important Moore will be as the Reds aim to seal an immediate return to the Championship.
“We are all a little bit surprised that he can play,” the German said.
“After last weekend we got the information that he can try to train and the training was good this week.
“We are happy he can be in the squad and you can see it is good for our team, for him, and the supporters.
“It is a good feeling that we have Kieffer back in our team and it gives us more options in offence. It is a good situation for us ahead of the last three games.”
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Barnsley were indebted to their goalkeeper Adam Davies during the win over the Shrews, which extended their unbeaten run at Oakwell this season.
The Wales international, the Reds’ skipper, pulled off some fine saves to ensure his side claimed a second consecutive victory.
It was the latest in a long line of superb performances from Davies, who is out of contract in the summer.
He will have attracted plenty of admirers this season, but Stendel hopes he remains a Tyke.
“He knows the club want him to stay here,” Stendel said.
“He is not only a very good goalkeeper but also a very good skipper for our team. He is a player who has played for Barnsley for four years.
“He is a little bit Barnsley. I hope he stays here, we need him.”
Barnsley travel to Plymouth on Monday looking to continue their promotion drive.
“It is the best time to have a run in the last five games,” Stendel said. “The first two games we won and Plymouth on Monday is a new game.”