Oakwell dismisses striker speculation

Barnsley manager David Flitcroft.
Barnsley manager David Flitcroft.
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Barnsley’s squad is gradually taking shape ahead of the new season.

But The Star understands rumours former England, Fulham and Everton striker Andy Johnson has been training with the Reds are wide of the mark.

Johnson, 32, has one year left on a two-year deal with QPR. It is understood Johnson would consider a move from Loftus Road, but only if it involved a return to the Premier League with the Hoops having been relegated last season.

With youngster Danny Rose understood to be injured, the Reds have three out-and-out frontline strikers in Chris O’Grady, Chris Dagnall and Jason Scotland ahead of their first pre-season friendly at home Club Brugge tomorrow evening (7pm).

New signing Dale Jennings also offers another option as a striker if needed, as does Kelvin Etuhu, Tomasz Cywka and Reuben Noble-Lazarus.

But Reds’ boss David Flitcroft is believed to happy with the 19-strong squad he has now assembled, with the addition of Under-21 players like Rose, Noble-Lazarus, Paul Digby, Andrai Jones, Jordan Clark and Sam Patterson – to name a few - at his disposal if needed.

The signing of Wales international centre-back Lewin Nyatanga – a former Reds’ loan player – has strengthened the club’s defence.

And with Bobby Hassell, Tom Kennedy, Jimmy McNulty and Martin Cranie having all signed new deals to stay at Oakwell for longer, Flitcroft is certainly not short of options. Left-back Scott Golbourne, who missed much of the second half of last season because of knee damage, is back for the new campaign. Former Bristol City and Derby County centre-back Nyatanga, who had three loan spells with the Reds between 2007-2008, could make his home debut tomorrow evening against the Belgium Premier League side.

And it will be interesting to see who Flitcroft starts with as his team prepare for the first of four friendlies before the opening game of the new season, at home to Wigan on August 3. Ex-Bayern winger Jennings is tipped to make his debut, while ex Sheffield Wednesday man O’Grady could again prove pivotal to the way the Reds play this season.

Meanwhile the club are offering season ticket holders the chance to attend a free question and answer session at the club with manager Flitcroft, assistant manager Micky Mellon, first team coach Martin Scott and the club’s new chief executive Ben Mansford. There are 190 spaces available for the evening, the first in a series of planned events at the club designed to create a closer bond between club and supporters.