Injuries put damper on Barnsley preparations

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BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill has bemoaned several ‘false dawns’ on the injury front, which has again stretched his resources for today’s trip to the Valley.

Reds boss Hill, understood to still be among the contenders for the vacant Burnley job along with the likes of Nick Barmby, Mick McCarthy, Michael Appleton and Sean Dyche – according to reports in Lancashire – had hoped that defensive trio Jim McNulty, Stephen Foster and Martin Crainie would be back in training this week and available.

The rehabilitation of the three defenders prompted Hill to allow Rob Edwards and Lee Collins to join Fleetwood Town and Shrewsbury Town respectively to boost their match-fitness levels, but they all are unlikely to feature among the Addicks, with the Tykes chief lacking cover.

Hill said: “I keep getting false dawns with respect to injured players returning.

“It’s quite frustrating because we make decisions loaning players out with respect to getting players back and that doesn’t materialise. I was led to believe Jim McNulty could be training with us last Monday, same with Martin Cranie and Stephen Foster. I don’t want to make too many loan signings (to cover). They’re not really compatible with what I’m trying to achieve, long-term. We’ll just see how the next couple of games go.”

Meanwhile, Hill has reiterated his desire for the club to press ahead with talks with several stars who are out of contract next summer, including top-scorer Craig Davies, with the Oakwell boss admitting he is desperate to avoid the scenario of losing some of his best players come the opening of the transfer window in January. Preliminary talks are understood to have taken place with some players and Hill admits that time is very much of the essence.

He said: “I don’t want to be in a position for the second half of the season as a result of losing players in January. The ramifications of what happened last season could have been relegation.

“You try and plan to avoid significant damage being done. We try and plan. We did a lot of foundation and planning work last season – a lot of it not seen.

“It’s so important we retain these players that were developing because we need to establish a future.”

Burnley chief executive Lee Hoos, meanwhile, has said that he hopes to appoint a new manager by the end of next week.

““We are beavering away and trying to reach a conclusion, and we’ve seen quite a few managers,” he said. “I don’t want to mention any names, as we’re still open-minded, but the most important thing is to get the right man.”