Sam Winnall has been in fantastic form this season for the tykes and his goals have led to them being on the brink of promotion to The Championship. Barnsley take on Millwall in the play-off final and they will be looking for a big performance from the 25-year-old to help secure their promotion.
Winnall initially started his career at Wolves, but did not have his contract renewed after the 2012/13 season and so moved to Scunthorpe United. He hit the ground running at Glanford Park, winning League Two top scorer in his first season. After his second term he moved to Barnsley, where his career has continued to rise. The Tykes reportedly – according to the Yorkshire Post – turned down a six figure offer from Leeds United in January and that is looking to be a very shrewd bit of business.
The Englishman is a natural goalscorer and typical centre forward. His movement in and around the box is excellent and he is able to find pockets of space to get his shots away. His intelligence in reading the game often allows him to anticipate where the ball will be, allowing him to get there slightly before the defenders. Winnall is a very good finisher, who strikes the ball very cleanly. He is also very calm in front of goal which helps him convert his scoring chances.
During this season, Winnall has proven his adaptability by scoring lots of different types of goals and his creativity allows him to manufacture chances, when initially there looked no danger. In the air, he is also very strong, having scored several headers this campaign. He is also adept at holding the ball up and bringing others into play when others are making runs beyond him.
One of Winnall’s weaknesses is that he lacks the pace to get behind defenders. This could put a ceiling on the level Winnall can reach, as speed is a difficult attribute to improve. His dribbling is also an area for improvement, as he lacks the trickery and skill to beat players as well as the speed to get away from them. If he could add a couple of moves to his arsenal, allowing him to beat a player, he will pose more danger to defenders.
Winnall has had an excellent season and should be able to succeed at The Championship level. Whether that is with Barnsley will depend on their result against Millwall next Saturday. However, if they are unsuccessful in reaching the second tier then Winnall will surely become the target of many Championship clubs who want to add a proven goalscorer to their ranks.