BARNSLEY general manager Don Rowing has revealed that the club have already received plenty of applications for the vacant Oakwell managerial post following the sacking of Keith Hill.
The 43-year-old, appointed manager in June, 2011, was dismissed shortly after Saturday’s 3-1 home loss to Blackburn Rovers, which ensured the club end 2012 propping up the Championship.
Hill’s assistant, David Flitcroft, has agreed to take on the role as caretaker for the encounter against next-to-bottom Peterborough United at London Road tomorrow.
Former Doncaster Rovers chief Sean O’Driscoll – controversially sacked by Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day – ex-Hull manager Phil Brown, who has applied for the Blackburn vacancy, and Gary Megson, who left Sheffield Wednesday at the end of February, are possible contenders for the vacant Reds post, along with the likes of Nick Barmby, John Sheridan and Steve Cotterill.
Rowing insists the Reds’ board had no choice but to call time on Hill’s tenure, with them having won just five league games this season and without a victory at Oakwell since September 1.
The defeat to Rovers was their seventh home reverse this term and it extended their miserable streak to just one win in 14 Championship matches.
On the search for Barnsley’s fourth manager in three-and-a-half years, Rowing told the Yorkshire Post: “We had 16 applications in the two hours after the match (following Hill’s dismissal), so there is plenty for us to get our teeth into.
“I think we will be an attractive proposition for someone and, after these applications are considered, there will be more that are.
“We are not a sacking club. It is the second manager in probably the last six years that we have dismissed. It is something that was forced on us by the results.
“We will be concentrating on the Peterborough game and then the cup game, which gives us a bit of breathing space, and then we will look to the league game with Leeds United on January 12.
“We will be having a meeting this week to discuss the way ahead.”
Specifically on the decision to axe Hill, who was believed to have been on a rolling contract, he added: “Nobody gets any enjoyment out of finishing anyone. But at the end of the day, although it is an old cliche, it is a results-driven business.
“We find ourselves at the bottom of the league and owe it to the supporters and club to do what we can to retain our Championship status.
“Keith took things very well. I think he understood the situation. It is just one of those things that happens. He tried everything and while the football was very good, we just did not get the results.”
At the top end of the table, Steve Bruce insists the priority for Hull City going into the January transfer window is to keep hold of the club’s loan stars.
The Tigers go into the new year as Yorkshire’s top side after cementing their hold on second place with a 2-0 derby win over Leeds United.
Bruce is refusing to get carried away and has pinpointed the need to extend the stays of Sunderland midfielder David Meyler and Manchester United wing-back Robbie Brady once their respective loan deals end after tomorrow’s trip to Blackpool.
The Hull chief, who is still keen on re-signing Fulham’s Leeds-born goalkeeper David Stockdale, said: “The big thing for me going into 2013 is to secure what we have got.
“There are two or three loan signings who need sorting out.
“For example, we thought there was a deal there to do for Stockdale but then he plays in goal for Fulham (in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Swansea).
“Meyler is another one we want to sort out and so is Brady. So, before we start spouting on about a striker, I need to shore up the group that we have.
“Both David and Robbie are at big clubs but have not played a lot of football. So, thankfully, they came here to play and have done that.
“I will go and see Sir Alex (Ferguson) next week. I’ll also speak to Martin (O’Neill) at Sunderland.”
Meyler netted Hull’s second goal in the win over Leeds to take his tally to three from nine appearances since joining in November.
Asked if he hoped a permanent deal could be struck for a midfielder who Bruce gave his Sunderland debut when in charge at the Stadium of Light, the Hull chief replied: “Possibly, though I have to speak to Martin.
“January is difficult. Martin will probably have to have someone lined up himself before he lets anyone go.
“To try and prise someone away will be like if someone comes after one of ours in January. They would have no chance, unless they break the bank. Even then I don’t think the owners would even contemplate it.
“Why would they take a chance with four months to play when we have given ourselves a big opportunity?”
Leeds counterpart Neil Warnock wants to take Michael Tonge back to Elland Road from Stoke City, and the United chief would also like to extend the loan stays of Alan Tate and Jerome Thomas from Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion, respectively.
Warnock, who left Luciano Becchio on the bench at Hull because of a thigh strain, also hopes to bring in a striker and has been in constant contact with the club’s new owners, GFH Capital.
He said: “The new owners are very supportive. I have given them the names of two or three players and they are very supportive about getting them in. Shaun (Harvey, chief executive) is working his socks off to do one or two deals.
“We would like them as early as possible, but it is not always as simple as that. Other clubs need replacements if they sell and there are all sorts of other factors.”
Warnock admitted over the weekend that he had already missed out on one target. Chris Wood, the West Bromwich striker who has been on loan at Millwall, has joined Leicester City and the United chief stated that he had been unable to compete financially with the Foxes.
After Saturday’s defeat, Warnock said: “In fairness to the owners, they were disappointed that I mentioned that but it wasn’t meant as a criticism.
“What I meant was that Leicester are like Chelsea in the Premier League. If they want a player then they usually go out and get him.
“I don’t think anyone, ourselves included, is in that position to get who Leicester are after. But they’re a one-off. There is nobody else in the league like Leicester. And they can’t sign every one of our targets.”
Saturday’s defeat left Leeds ninth in the Championship, five points adrift of Watford in the final play-off place. Warnock added: “With January almost here, everybody at the club is positive. We mustn’t let this deter us from going where we want to go.
“January needs to be a good month. It’s a vital month. And I think everyone at the club knows how vital it is. The new owners can’t wait to support us. I’ve just got to give them targets and then, hopefully, do deals.”
As for Hull, 2013 is promising to be memorable with Bruce admitting his delight at the manner of the performance that clinched a first league double over Leeds in a quarter-of-a-century.
He added: “We absolutely smashed Leeds, let’s be fair about that. For an experienced manager like Neil to say it was men against mice, that is a real compliment to our team.”
Match report: Page 3.