It’s been a quiet week transfer wise at Oakwell as the first-team squad are spending the week at a training facility in Marbella, Spain. One player missing however is the recent signing, Mido.
The Egyptian striker was unable to obtain a visa to travel to Spain and has instead been attending one-to-one sessions with a fitness coach in Rochdale. Mido’s time back in Egypt, and a lack of football, has meant that his weight and general fitness have been seen as somewhat below the standard required to make an impact in the Championship. Some may question his attitude to such hard work and dietary requirements, however Keith Hill has been encouraged by his progress and commitment. The player himself has also been active on Twitter and appears to be in good spirits.
Reports from the first-team squad members who have travelled to Spain suggest that the squad is in confident mood and have been coping well with the heavy condition training.
As Scottish side St. Mirren are also training not too far from Barnsley in Marbella, a match has been arranged between the two sides that will take place at 6pm this evening.
Hill is still looking to add to his squad and it is likely that two or three permanent signings will be made along with a couple of season long loans should the right players become available.
Whilst the manager recognises that the squad needs to be strengthened in several areas, he is particularly keen to recruit another central midfielder, following the departure of Jacob Butterfield, as well as a left-footed winger.
Hill his keeping his cards close to his chest in terms of who his targets may be but with the new season just around the corner, there are a number of experienced out-of-contract players available who are frantically trying to find a new club as well as those who are deemed surplus to requirements at their current team.
Whilst Barnsley are known to have a limited budget, it is thought that Hill isn’t restricted to free-agents alone. One name that has emerged in the last few days is that of Burnley’s Keith Treacy who does fit the bill as a left-footed winger as is known to be a top priority for the manager. Treacy hasn’t had the best of times since joining Burnley from Preston last year and spent a period on loan at local rivals Sheffield Wednesday towards the end of last season. The Republic of Ireland international did well at Hillsborough and may also be a target for Owls boss Dave Jones who is also keen to bolster his squad after achieving promotion from League One last season.
Hill’s transfer policy at the beginning of this season is vastly different from the approach he took last season where most of the recruits were from the lower leagues and had little or no Championship experience. Whilst the first half of the season went very well for the Reds, the lack of strength in the squad was evident in the latter part of the season when some of the most influential players were lost to transfers or injuries and the replacements were not able to compete to the level of the Championship having played very little for their previous clubs.
With lessons learnt from the drastic change in form last season, the Barnsley manager is keen to have his squad ready to compete in an entire season with January transfer window an opportunity to make improvements to the team instead of providing cover for injuries or departures.