A quotation widely attributed to Albert Einstein is that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. It is not your standard post-match fare but David Flitcroft, Barnsley's manager, brought it up when reflecting on his success in reviving the Yorkshire club's fortunes after their passage to the FA Cup sixth round for the first time since reaching the semi-finals in 2008.
"I had to do something different," he said, citing that Einstein line. "The players have responded." Barnsley's 3-1 victory at MK Dons was their seventh in nine games since Flitcroft, the erstwhile assistant manager, replaced the sacked Keith Hill at the end of December. And Barnsley's celebrations were certainly different – there were none, as Flitcroft instead whisked them off to a hotel for a briefing on tomorrow's opponents Wolves, whose visit to Oakwell offers a chance to climb out of the Championship's bottom three.
"I am asking them to sacrifice," said Flitcroft. "I look at the most successful people in the world – whether it is business, Olympians, footballers, whether it is Phil 'The Power' Taylor, the one thing they have sacrificed is time. We're all going to a hotel and locking ourselves in – we'll do a presentation on Wolves. We'll be staying there very late tonight to plan an assault on Wolves."
Flitcroft, 39, added that his Barnsley players had been "inspired" by watching videos of Bradford City's League Cup exploits, though he also arranged a rather unorthodox squad spying mission to MK Dons' fixture at Doncaster last Tuesday – and it all paid off in style on an afternoon that put Marlon Harewood, an FA Cup semi-final hero for West Ham in 2006, back in the spotlight.
The much-travelled 33-year-old, who had a spell with China's Shenzhen Phoenix in 2011, scored Barnsley's second goal, sandwiched by Chris Dagnall's double strike, and was later involved in an argument with a spectator seated behind the away dugout. The fan was subsequently interviewed by Thames Valley Police though a joint-statement from the two clubs on Saturday night said there was "no evidence" the "offensive gesture" made towards Harewood was of "a racist nature".Reuse content