LOSING one of their main men in the transfer window is a familiar feeling for Barnsley.

The Tykes are accustomed to selling on their stars as Brad Potts became the latest departure in a £1.5 million-plus deal to Preston.

But the timing of his exit, just three days into January, came out of the blue.

Potts has been at the heart of some of Barnsley’s best play this season, suiting their counter-attacking, pressing style with seven goals from the right wing.

Boss Daniel Stendel admitted it was not his choice to let such a key player go.

“It’s not my decision,” he said. “He is a loss for our team on the pitch and off it and I am very disappointed that he left the club.”

Stendel’s frustration will come from how well Barnsley have been playing in recent weeks. The German was short-listed on the back of a five-game unbeaten run – all against teams in the top half.

Wins over Blackpool, Peterborough and Charlton and draws against top two Portsmouth and Luton have suggested Barnsley are finding the consistent form many have been waiting for in their push for an immediate return to the Championship.

The absence of Potts could potentially damage their attacking play, although midfielder Kenny Dougall still feels they can challenge for an automatic promotion spot.

He said: “We’ve got a lot of work to do still. We’re aiming for the top two – that’s our goal and we won’t give up on that.

“This last period of games has given us real confidence that we can beat anyone in this league.”

Barnsley were knocked out of the FA Cup by a last-ditch goal at Burnley but the Australian insists that will not affect morale. “Bradford at home is the main priority,” he added.

Striker Kieffer Moore, a fanciful target for City this time last year, is coming back to fitness after injury. He came off the bench late on at Turf Moor.

Left back Daniel Pinillos is expected to be fit to return.