KEITH HILL cannot hide his disappointment that Jacob Butterfield will be stepping out in the white of Bolton Wanderers rather than in Barnsley colours today.
Hill made an enquiry to bring the former Tykes midfielder back to Oakwell on loan recently, but Bradford-born Butterfield, currently at Norwich City, elected to join Wanderers, the Barnsley manager’s home-town club.
Hill will have a pang of regret if he sees Butterfield stride out for the hosts and make his debut today.
He said: “It is such a shame we have not got Jacob playing for Barnsley against Bolton.
“He is not in contention for Barnsley and that is what we all would have wanted. I am sure Barnsley supporters would have wanted Jacob to be representing the club as well.
“We made an enquiry to Norwich about his services. So seeing him there could be a double blow; but we have got to raise above these challenges.”
Hill, born and bred in Bolton along with assistant-manager David Flitcroft – the pair still live on the outskirts of the town – will put sentiment aside at the Reebok Stadium and concentrate on the business of inspiring a Reds upturn, with his side on a wretched run of one win in their past nine Championship games.
Hill, who will have plenty of friends and family at the game, said: “It is 90 minutes and mine and the players’ work-day of the week where everything is on show. This is where you stand up to be counted.
“My business is solely about concentrating and not getting involved in any sideshows. It is an important fixture for Barnsley Football Club and not just Keith Hill.
“We are in trouble at this moment in time and have got to fight together and re-discover our internal belief, individually and collectively.”
On the game, he added: “It will be tough. There is an expectation within Bolton to get automatic promotion, but there is often a transistion period for teams who get relegated from the Premiership.”
Hill is likely to resurrect his interest in Sheffield Wednesday forward Chris O’Grady – out for a fortnight with a foot injury – when the January transfer window opens.