Barnsley turn to old boys in bid to end their slump

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BARNSLEY are going back to the future as they look to bolster their injury-hit squad.

The League One strugglers – embroiled in a seven-match league losing streak – have invited former Oakwell favourites Adam Hammill and Hugo Colace to train with the club.

The injury-hit Tykes are desperate for new players, but with their allocation of loan players filled can only bring in free transfers.

Hammill, 27, was released by Huddersfield earlier this season and trained with Barnsley yesterday. He will be joined today by 
Argentine midfielder Colace, 31.

Tykes manager Lee Johnson revealed the club were struggling to recruit ahead of tomorrow’s 
FA Cup first-round tie at Altrincham.

“We are trying, but it’s a very difficult time,” said Johnson. “We have our full quota of loans, so any loan we bring in, one has to move out or be removed from the squad.

“There’s very few out-of-contract players with real quality, and those players that are out of contract and have quality have either got better options or are not fit. In that case, it takes you six weeks to get them 90-minute match-fit.

“It boils down to being unfortunate, not only with our injuries, but the injuries haven’t been to the loanees, they have been our contracted players.”

After joining from Liverpool in 2009, Hammill became a fans’ favourite before being lured to Wolves two years later.

He joined Huddersfield in 2013, and has also had loan spells at rival Yorkshire clubs Middlesbrough and Rotherham United.

Colace played over 100 games for the Reds between 2008-11.

Johnson added: “We have got a couple coming in. Adam Hammill is coming in today, which is a good one. He is keen and we will have a look at him and see how he is, both physically and mentally.

“It’s a case of seeing whether he likes us, and we like him. He has got a couple of options, but we had a little discussion and feel it’s right for him to come in.

“We also have Hugo coming in on Friday, another one who we can assess.

“I don’t think we should hang our hat on these players at the moment given their fitness status.

“But it will be interesting to add a couple of players to the group, even if it’s just training and being able to brighten that up.

“We have another couple of tricks up our sleeve as well.”

Barnsley get welcome respite from their league troubles with two cup games, tomorrow at Conference side Altrincham, and at home to York City in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday night.

Their only win in the last eight games came in a 2-1 win at Bradford City in the JPT, and pressure is mounting on Johnson to stop the rot.

The former Oldham Athletic chief, who apologised to supporters, alongside owner Patrick Cryne and chief executive Ben Mansford at a recent fans’ forum, remains defiant and insists he is the man to lead the revival.

Asked if his future hangs on the next two cup games, Johnson replied: “I don’t know, you will have to ask somebody else.

“But I am fully committed to the club, you can tell by the way I speak that I am still ‘up for it’, positive and dynamic.

“I don’t want to make excuses, because you do a lot of interviews and are asked a lot of questions. Anything can be construed as an excuse.

“We had a fans’ forum the other day and we fronted it, myself, Patrick (Cryne) and Ben (Mansford). We took a little bit on the chin, apologised for the poor form, and tried to give a couple of explanations.

“I am still stubbornly, but aggressively confident that with our best XI, a couple of additions and our injured back, we can turn this season around.

“It’s a belief, and I don’t mean to sound arrogant in that, but I know what we are doing is right.

“I think the expectations were a little bit too high, and I was trying to dampen that, with the difference between reality and expectation.

“I felt with a good run and a bit of spirit we could maybe meet that expectation. But we got hit by some bad injuries, and now we’re clawing it back. Until then we just have to stay positive.

“Listen, I am disappointed, but I do believe in myself, my staff, that we can get it right.

“I have apologised (for our results) and I hope people will stick with me.”

On supporters’ criticism on social media, he responded: “I am a big boy, but you have to deal with it. I understand football is a results game, and we haven’t got the results.

“But I also believe I am the one to turn it around, stubbornly maybe.

“I have come here for a reason, the club invested in me for a reason, and we haven’t quite had the luck to get the plan out completely.

“I hope people can see I am giving my all, nobody has chucked it in, we haven’t been defeated 5-0 or anything like that. But we have conceded poor goals and we need to regroup.”

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