BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill has made no secret that he has just one goal this season – to maintain the Reds’ Championship status.
This stance is somewhat unusual in the second tier but highlights the situation at Oakwell where finances are tight, a factor which reportedly influenced Mark Robins’departure in the summer.
Hill brought his football philosophy in from Rochdale where he had great success, lifting them out of League Two for the first time in more than 30 years and threatening a play off push the following season.
Hill started the season with a fluid 4-4-1-1 formation with Andy Gray the lone striker and the rapidly improving Jacob Butterfield in behind.
But Hill has demonstrated a more pragmatic side in switching to a 4-4-2 in recent matches, giving former Chesterfield star Craig Davies the opportunity to bring his goalscoring exploits to the second tier.
There is the promise of an exciting South Yorkshire derby on Saturday.
The tempo will inevitably be high and Rovers will have to be at their most alert to avoid being caught out.
Barnsley – like Rovers in recent years – are midfield driven with Butterfield proving key to their creativity whether in a bank of four or pushed further forward.
The absence of striker Gray and Manchester United loanee Danny Drinkwater – a box to box midfielder – due to suspension will be a blow to Hill’s plans.
Last line-up: (4-4-2) Steele, McEveley, Foster, Wiseman, McNulty, Perkins, Addison, Butterfield, Drinkwater, Davies, Gray.
One to watch: Jacob Butterfield
AFTER demonstrating his skill mainly from the bench last term, Reds Academy graduate Jacob Butterfield has become a key member of Keith Hill’s first choice XI.
The creative midfielder is exactly the type of player Hill loves, one with an eye for a killer pass.
The 21-year-old is also capable of the spectacular, highlighted by his goal of the season winning strike against Bristol City last term.
Butterfield has reportedly caught the eye of Everton, Stoke and Wolves.
Head to head
Rovers wins: 24
Reds wins: 22