BARNSLEY manager Keith Hill says West Ham United paid more for Kevin Nolan than he has spent on an entire squad.
Hill cites Nolan’s £4m move from Newcastle United as one of the best illustrations of the Championship’s financial divide.
The Tykes travel to East London today to face the Hammers who are second in the table.
“Look at the players that they’ve got – John Carew, Carlton Cole, Frederic Piquionne, Kevin Nolan,” said Hill. “Nolan’s transfer fee is my playing budget for the season. In fact it’s probably more and that’s the enormity of the task!”
Despite the limited resources at his disposal, Hill has still managed to steer Barnsley to a comfortable mid-table position only five points adrift of the top six.
He believes his side, who suffered a 5-3 loss to Ipswich Town last weekend, can play under no pressure today as they seek to inflict a third consecutive defeat on the Hammers.
“The West Ham supporters won’t be patient,” he said. “They don’t accept that losing to Burnley is just part of a course of the season. That full house could turn against them and that is our plan.
“We don’t want to create a good atmosphere, we want to create a hostile atmosphere because the West Ham fans, like me, think that West Ham belong in the Premier League.
“It’s an enormous task and – if I was a betting man and I wasn’t Barnsley manager – I’d be putting my money on a home win! But I am the Barnsley manager and we’re preparing and planning to take as many points as possible from West Ham this weekend. It can be done.”
Hill is a personal friend of Hammers manager Sam Allardyce, whom he has known for many years living in Bolton.
“He’s somebody that I’ve followed with keen interest,” admitted Hill. “It’s not about Sam Allardyce the football coach, the football manager – it’s more about Sam Allardyce the organiser who has got a vision. He’s obviously done a lot of homework with respect to preparation, rehabilitation, organisation and he’s accountable for a lot of off-the-field developments within football.
“When there’s a newspaper article, or he’s on TV, he’s somebody I will listen to with a keen ear and, if there’s any advice I can take, I will.”