Hill aims to avoid the fate of Sheffield duo

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BARNSLEY manager Keith Hill has challenged his players to secure Championship safety in the next four games.

The Tykes visit next-to-bottom Coventry City this afternoon and host struggling Nottingham Forest next week.

Hill wants to enter the final 10 games without the threat of relegation hanging over his club who are currently 14th in the table on 42 points.

“Our objective has always been to retain our Championship status and the mental process becomes easier if we can do that in the next four games,” he said.

“Anything is achievable and once pressure is lifted from our shoulders who is to say we can’t go on and beat clubs like West Ham or Southampton?

“Three teams went down last season on 42 points and this season I think teams might get relegated on 44-45 points. It is important we get points on the board and get as close to 50 as quickly as possible.

“Too often in the last five seasons, this club has gone into the final weeks of the season needing points to survive and done it,” he added. “But so many higher status clubs have faltered and fallen; the likes of Sheffield United, Preston North End, Charlton and Sheffield Wednesday.”

Coventry are the latest club with a Premier League past to be looking at the possibility of a League One future. Three points adrift of safety, manager Andy Thorn has billed today’s contest as a ‘must win’ affair, especially as Forest – the club in their sights – face a tough-looking trip to third-placed Birmingham City.

Hill, meanwhile, wants to extend the loan deal of Norwich City midfielder Korey Smith which expires this weekend.