Delighted Hill refuses to get carried away

Rallying cry: Keith Hill wants Barnsley to challenge at the top

Rallying cry: Keith Hill wants Barnsley to challenge at the top

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KEITH Hill is “over the moon” with what Barnsley have achieved this season - but he won’t be resting on his laurels any time soon.

Reds boss Hill has guided the club to within six points of breaking into the play-off positions with 18 games remaining this season.

But, perhaps more importantly, given Hill’s priority of retaining their Championship status, the Oakwell outfit are 15 points above the bottom three clubs and with plenty still left to play for this term.

And ahead of tomorrow’s away clash with Watford, Hill has stressed the need for his team to keep applying the same high standards in order to keep their season alive.

“We’ve got to be competitive against Watford. We’re more than capable of winning this game against very good opposition,” said Hill.

“We’re between a rock and a hard place at the bottom. It’s great that we’ve got 39 points and it’s great we’ve got a cushion of 15 points from the bottom three and great that we’re looking up rather than down.

“At the start of the season every bookmaker in the land would have had us in the bottom three come the end of the season.

“But I’ve got to keep pinching myself sometimes to remind myself of where we could be, where we actually are, but also the ambition to be in the top six.

“There’s so many pitfalls in the Championship that we’ve got to take each game as it comes. I’m learning that more now at Barnsley than I ever did at Rochdale.

“It’s been really difficult to have got those 39 points from the 28 games we’ve played, so we won’t take anything for granted.

“We’ve got an ambition to be better than where we are, but realistically we’re absolutely over the moon with where we are now.”

Hill will be without winger Jim O’Brien (groin) and left-back Jay McEveley for this weekend’s trip to Vicarage as the Reds go in search of their first away win over the Hornets since 2008 when they clinched a fine 3-0 win. Earlier this season the two sides drew 1-1 at Oakwell.

“They’re a good side and they were only narrowly beaten by Tottenham,” said Hill. “Prior to their last three games they’d been in excellent form until they lost three on the bounce. They beat Millwall the other night.

“They’ve had to deal with a lot of speculation over the last week over [Adrian] Mariappa and [Marvin] Sordell but [manager] Sean’s [Dyche] dealt with it really well. We know this is going to be a tough test for us.”