Keith Hill cut a considerably more satisified figure at Oakwell yesterday as he reflected on a shopping spree that would make even the most ardent of shopaholics jealous.
Hill could be forgiven for thinking all his Christmases had come at once such was the standard of player he has been able to bring in to Barnsley over the last seven days.
After spending recent weeks questioning whether his own ambitions would be matched by Patrick Cryne and the Reds’ board, he received an emphatic answer in the form of a financial commitment that has resulted in four high-calibre players arriving at the South Yorkshire club.
Joining Marcus Tudgay who arrived last week, are Akos Buzsaky from Portsmouth, Emile Sinclair from Peterborough and Jonathan Greening from Nottingham Forest, the latter being vastly experienced in the Premier League and Europa League, never mind the Championship.
“We’ve recruited quality players,” said Hill. “They’re intelligent, game-ready players, so I’m really pleased.
“I hope it stimulates the players and I hope it stimulates competition for places.
“We’re going into a heavy fixture list now and it’s important we’ve got the type of squad we’ve got going into those.
“It’s extremely pleasing to get this backing. I’ve always had the support of Patrick (Cryne).
“When we need help, he’ll help. As a club we’re fully intent on retaining our Championship status.
“At the beginning of the season the club would have been happy finishing one place above the relegation zone, but we’re more ambitious than that, we’ve got more aspirations.”
There is a small caveat to this influx of players: they are all on short-term loans with the future of each player to be decided during the first week in January.
That gives Hill eight games to integrate them and utilise them to their maximum potential, starting with tomorrow’s daunting task against high-flying Cardiff.
“That’s what we’re focusing on, between now and January, those eight fixtures,” said Hill.
“We’ve invested in players for a small period of time and we’ll revisit that in January.”