Loan man Collins can be big hit for the Reds

KEITH HILL has backed Barnsley’s new signing Lee Collins to be a success in the Championship.

The 23-year-old former England Youth international has moved on loan to Oakwell until the end of the season from crisis club Port Vale.

Hill moved for Collins after Vale slipped into administration and the defender is likely to be involved today when Championship form team Reading make their second visit to South Yorkshire in four days.

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The Reds manager said: “He can operate anywhere across the back four. He can play left-back but probably prefers to play at centre-half.

“He has got the right ingredients to be a success. There were a lot of other Championship clubs looking at him.

“When Port Vale found themselves in the unfortunate position they are in, the time was right to try to sign him.”

Collins, who started his career at Wolves, has made all his 150 or so league appearances for Vale in League Two. He also played 16 games in the bottom tier when on loan at Hereford United in the 2007-08 season.

Barnsley may be pressed into the loan market again before next Thursday’s deadline after it was confirmed goalkeeper David Preece’s season is over.

The 35-year-old, second choice to Luke Steele for most of the season, has suffered a fractured wrist, leaving youngster Lukas Lidakevicius as the only other goalkeeper on the club’s books.

Hill said: “He fractured his hand in the warm-up at Southampton and is out for the season.”

Preece’s only start this term came at home to Southampton in August.