Barnsley budget leaves Hill with recruitment test

Barnsley boss Keith Hill

Barnsley boss Keith Hill

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BARNSLEY manager Keith Hill says the club’s lack of money is blocking his bid to strengthen in the transfer window.

Hill is currently scouring the market for three new players but admits doors have been ‘slammed in his face’.

The Tykes’ budget is one of the smallest in the Championship and owner Patrick Cryne has made it clear that the club needs to break even this season.

Although Scunthorpe United striker Chris Dagnall arrived at Oakwell seven days ago, Hill insists that it is getting tougher to nail down his targets.

“We are trying to open a few doors but they are slammed seriously back in our face because we just can’t compete,” he said. “A lot of players we have expressed interest in are also wanted by other Championship clubs. Can we meet the financial demands? Probably not.”

Hill says the £1.8m offer by tomorrow’s opponents Leicester City for Doncaster Rovers striker Billy Sharp is equal to his total investment in players this season.

He also revealed that Dagnall was offered similar money by a League Two club – believed to be Bradford City.

“At times, we have done well to recruit players,” he said. “In the case of Chris Dagnall, we had to meet the financial offer on the table at a League Two club. That’s not being disrespectful to anyone at this football club – but it’s very difficult to recruit. Leicester are trying to recruit Billy Sharp for £1.8m. That is on a par with what I have spent on recruiting all my players this season.

“People have to be respectful of what we are trying to achieve and how we are trying to do it,” he added.

The Tykes have lost four out of their last five league games but are still nine points clear of the relegation zone.

Hill is happy with his club’s overall performance and thinks the Tykes deserve more respect for the success so far.

“You are going to go through sequences where you are not winning football matches,” he said. “Most teams outside the top eight have done that. On average, they have lost between 8 to 10 games. It’s how quickly you recover and re-establish a winning or ‘not losing’ sequence that is important.

“I feel the players need more respect. The most this club has won in a season over the last five years is 15 games. I seem to be fighting all the time – against the press and the public – that this club has been unbelievably successful over the last five years in the league, and it hasn’t.

“We should be forgiven for being on a par with the last five years but we are not. Instead we are harshly treated. We are reported in the media as ‘also rans’, lost games etc. It’s a consquence of the demands of the Championship but we will respond. People don’t realise what pressure we are all under to at least mirror what has gone on in the last five years.”

Hill hopes the departure of both striker Danny Haynes and midfielder Nathan Doyle, both surplus to requirements, will help free up more money for new additions.

Haynes is wanted by Charlton Athletic and Millwall and Doyle has recently returned from a loan spell at Preston North End. “Any player is only worth what another club is willing to pay,” he said. “Players who are not playing seem to become more important. You get the feeling that these are players who have been very successful at this club – when the average win percentage at this football club for the last five years is 30.6 which speaks volumes.”

Leicester are only two points above Barnsley despite heavy investment in players including Jermaine Beckford, Kasper Schmeichel and Lee Peltier. They also paid a substantial six-figure sum in compensation to Hull for manager Nigel Pearson after dispensing with the services of Sven Goran Eriksson.

Hill says Pearson was fully justified in quitting the Tigers and is convinced he will lead the Foxes back to the Premier League.

“Knowing Nigel as a manager, once he has got used to his squad they will get promoted,” said Hill. “If it is not this season, they will be 100 per cent favourites next season.

“Nigel was doing a great job at Hull and knows football is a ruthless business. He got them into a good position in the league but chose to go back to Leicester because of the possibility of the cull and a missed opportuntity within football management.

“There is no loyalty to football managers and anything that goes wrong at a football club is the responsibility and the sole blame of the manager,” he added. “It’s unfortunate that people who sit below the parapet often get ignored or are allowed to get away with not doing their jobs properly. A manager would never be allowed to do that and is fully responsible. He was doing a great job at Hull but that gave him the opportunity to go back to Leicester. All the best and I applaud his decision to do it.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s game, Hill said: “We can’t compete financially with Nigel or his squad of millionaires but we can when it comes to 90 minutes of football. We have come up against different worlds before this season on the pitch including Leicester and no-one gave us a chance. We will need to be at 100 per cent, energised, enjoying the day, while they need to be off their best.”

Winger Jim O’Brien (stomach) will again be absent.

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