BARNSLEY’s final two pre-season fixtures against Doncaster Rovers and Crewe Alexandra provide manager Keith Hill with the opportunity to fine-tune his squad for the start of the new season.
The Reds take on Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium this afternoon, followed by an away clash against the Railwaymen on Tuesday.
And then it’s an intriguing return to Hill’s former club Rochdale as the Reds kick-off their season proper at Spotland in the first round of the Carling Cup.
“Pre-season is just preparation, you can’t read too heavily on any results or any performances,” Hill told The Star. “There’s encouragement but it’s a progressive development up until the Rochdale game and then that’s where I’ll really be scrutinising the players. The players will then have that added responsibility of pressure.
“I think it was John McEnroe who once said that you shouldn’t just embrace pressure, but that pressure is a privilege. I suppose you’ve got to look at it that way.”
Hill has been casting his eyes over four new trialists at Oakwell this week - and they could all feature today in the club’s second pre-season Yorkshire derby, having already tested themselves against Rotherham United last month.
And finding a central midfield player to fill the void left by the departure of Jacob Butterfield and Danny Drinkwater is still one of Hill’s top priorities in readiness for the new campaign.