Barnsley v Rochdale: Hill’s expected return enlivens ‘dead rubber’

Rochdale manager Keith Hill, formerly Barnsley's boss (Picture: James Hardisty).

Rochdale manager Keith Hill, formerly Barnsley's boss (Picture: James Hardisty).

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LEE JOHNSON admits tomorrow’s final game, a Roses showdown with Keith Hill’s Rochdale, has extra spice and fully expects the ex-Barnsley chief to attend.

Hill had suggested after his Dale side’s hopes of the play-offs ended last weekend that he would not attend the ‘dead rubber’ at his former club, stating that he did not want to “rattle someone else’s cage” and would, instead, take a break.

Johnson, however, expects to share a post-match drink with him. Johnson, who locked horns with Hill in derby combat earlier this term at Oldham, said: “I could understand if he was on a scouting trip, but I can’t imagine him missing a game to go on holiday.

“I am expecting him to be there and I will invite him into my office afterwards as I would with any manager.

“Keith comes out with outrageous comments, but they usually have intelligence behind them. He’s a good manager and he has Rochdale punching above their weight.

“When your club’s ex-manager comes back, there is always something extra to a game.”

The game sees Tom Kennedy also return to Oakwell, although Stephen Dawson is set to miss out with injury.

Johnson is expected to reveal his released list next week, with Leroy Lita, Kane Hemmings and Jean Yves-M’voto set to be freed.

Talks have reportedly begun with Lewin Nyatanga over a new deal, but wage demands could stop Martin Cranie being handed an extension.

Johnson added: “We wouldn’t rule out moving on some players who are still contracted to us.

“It is no secret that there will be a lot of changes this summer and I will be looking to create a squad that can play the way I want to play. I have pretty much made my mind up on all of the out-of-contract players, but I still have a couple to speak to.”

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