Tudgay future unclear with Oakwell loan set to expire

Jack Butland
Jack Butland
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Marcus TUDGAY may have played his final game for Barnsley as suspension rules him out of the festive fixtures.

The striker picked up a three-match ban for his red card at Elland Road last Saturday so he misses the Oakwell double-header, with Bolton today and Derby’s visit on Sunday, plus the New Year’s Day game.

He will return to Nottingham Forest when his loan expires and new Reds manager Danny Wilson has yet to make a decision on any of his current loan players, including Jack Butland and David Fox, as he assesses the Oakwell squad.

Asked about Tudgay’s future, Wilson said: “At this moment in time, I wouldn’t like to say. We have to sit down and talk to the club, look at where we are and exactly what we need to bring in.

“We are in the process of that, where we can strengthen, if we can strengthen.

“We will see what happens. In that process, we may have to let one or two go to bring people in. It’s about availability.

“The feelers have gone out, positives have come back, but you are never certain until January 1. At this stage, we have got ideas who we would like to bring in.

“There won’t be wholesale changes, that’s just not feasible. There might just be one or two tweaks to give us a lift.”

Also banned today is midfield player Jacob Mellis, who picked up his fifth booking of the season at Leeds.

“If it is not difficult enough, we have a couple more problems,” said Wilson. “It’s not just the 11 that start which is the catalyst for us getting away from trouble, it’s the full squad. Straightaway we are going to have to call on a couple more players.

“We are hoping Jack (Butland) will stay with us, but that’s up in the air at the moment.

“Let’s hope Luke (Steele) is fit and ready to go, but he hasn’t started training yet. It’s important that we assess him and make sure he is fully fit to come in. Otherwise, we will have to look around again.”

The Reds planned Christmas Day fitness tests for injured duo Paddy McCourt and Chris O’Grady. “You have to sometimes gamble, but we can’t afford for them to be out for long periods,” he said. “We need them back as soon as we can, but bringing them back too soon could be detrimental to their injuries.”

Wilson predicts a tough game today against a Bolton team he expected to be challenging for promotion. “Bolton will be disappointed at where they are in the league at the moment, I think everyone thought they would be charging up the table and challenging, but they are not.

“If we can win, we can claw some points back and pull closer to them, that’s the big incentive. If we can get a win against Bolton it will be a great boost to the confidence, and lead us on to a cracking game against Derby.”

Last six: Barnsley LLWLDD, Bolton WLLWLD.

Last time: Barnsley 2 Bolton 3; March 2, 2013; Championship.

Referee: A Haines (Tyne & Wear).