Hill is enjoying ‘enticing’ idea of Barnsley moving into play-off view

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Barnsley manager Keith Hill knows nothing is won in December but this month could have a defining effect on the Reds’ season.

After successive Yorkshire derby wins over Doncaster Rovers and Leeds United, Barnsley are in mid-table just five points off sixth-placed Leicester City with a game in hand.

But conversely Hill’s team are only four points better off than third-from-bottom Nottingham Forest with the season approaching the halfway mark.

That is why the run of fixtures in December could shape Barnsley’s season in the new year.

Back-to-back wins from today’s visit to Peterborough United, before Crystal Palace visit Oakwell on Tuesday night for their game in hand, and the Reds could be in the play-off mix.

Other games to come over the festive period see Barnsley travel to West Ham, but more importantly they have three home fixtures against Ipswich Town, Blackpool and Leeds United.

It all makes for interesting times at Oakwell and Hill is ready for the challenge.

“You’ve got to look at the league and see how close we are to sixth place with a game in hand, and then to how close we are to the bottom,” said the Barnsley boss.

“The perils are dangerous but the flip side of the coin is the next two games can be really, really enticing as well.”

Hill accepts Barnsley will have to defend well today against free-scoring Posh.

“They’ve got good players in offensive areas of the pitch,” he said. “Their defenders are attackers, if you like, and their attackers are attackers.

“Darren’s (Ferguson) gone back there and stabilised the football club, the team, he’s reinvigorated the team and the spirit.

“I know Darren – ambitious, spirit, desire, determination –that’ll be reflected in the way that his team play.

“We need to stay firmly anchored to our principles.”

Team selection has been hampered by a bug which has hit several Reds players this week, including Reuben Noble Lazarus, Alastair Taylor and Goran Lovre.

But striker Andy Gray has made a welcome return to training after suffering an Achilles injury.