BARNSLEY manager Keith Hill is open-minded about the possible sale of captain Jason Shackell to Derby County.
Shackell, who joined the Tykes from Wolves last summer, has indicated a desire to leave Oakwell and is keen to talk to Derby manager Nigel Clough.
The two clubs, however, have yet to agree a fee and Derby’s latest offer, in the region of £700,000, has been thrown out by the Tykes.
Defender Shackell, 27, still has another two years on his contract but Hill knows that it would be fruitless to try to stand in the way of a player who does not want to be part of his plans.
“Ideally, you want to keep your best players but any deals we do will only be done for the benefit of the football club,” said Hill. “Jason has shown a willingness to move on so he will be integral to the squad and its rebuilding.”
Hull City manager Nigel Pearson is also rumoured to be keen on Shackell and could yet offer defender Paul McShane, who impressed on loan with Barnsley this season, in a swap deal.
The need to reduce the Oakwell wage bill this summer was one of the main reasons behind former manager Mark Robins quitting the club three weeks ago.
But Hill, who spent the last four and half years working for Rochdale in League One and Two, has no problems whatsoever with owner Patrick Cryne’s proposals.
“I wouldn’t describe it as a shoestring budget,” he said. “I think it is competitive. But I don’t mind working under conditions that I have experienced before. Managing Barnsley is a real honour and it is also exciting to have 46 games to bat at. You don’t get too many opportunities like this in football. Quite often, when a job becomes available, you are taking over in the middle of a season and that makes it more difficult
“Coming in now, we have got a clean canvas. We get an opportunity to work with the players and develop a strategy over pre-season which gives ourselves the best opportunity for being ambitious in the Championship next season.”
The Tykes had released several players prior to Hill’s appointment and agreed new deals with highly-rated teenagers Reuben Noble Lazarus and Alastair Taylor.
Former Wolves left-back Matt Hill, no relation of Barnsley’s new manager, is a free agent but a return to Oakwell after a loan spell has not been ruled out.
“The squad will be evaluated over pre-season but there is quality and we want to add to that,” Hill said. “Collectively, we all have to be aiming for the same ambition, the staff, the supporters, the board of directors. We have all got to be on the same page.
“The players will see the product we have got to offer in respect of coaching, managing and improving them but we will be learning from Barnsley, too, from the calibre of player that we are going to be working with.”
Striker Marlon Harewood, on loan with Barnsley from Blackpool last season, has been offered a two-year deal by Notts County.
Former Leeds United defender Michael Duberry, 35, has joined Oxford after leaving St Johnstone.