BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill has called for his side to finish the season with a flourish despite being safe in the knowledge that they have guaranteed their own Championship safety.
The Reds take on relegation-threatened Bristol City tomorrow at Ashton Gate with the Robins desperate for three points as they try and avoid the drop.
And Hill has stressed he will resist the temptation a number of the club’s promising youngsters so they can get a taste of Championship football.
Instead Hill will be fielding his strongest squad and the same bunch of players that last 3-1 away to Hull City in midweek will get the chance to earn the club a better result.
“This weekend’s fixture means a lot to a lot of other football clubs, so we’ve got to do the right thing for the professionalism of the game, including ourselves,” said Hill. “And at the same time we want to win. We’ve got to be courtesy of the competitive nature of the Championship.”
“It’s a difficult one because it’s job done for us. It’s a 46-game season, but you shouldn’t be scrutinised in one game. I’ve been involved in games where the opposition has more on it than we do as a team, but you’ve got to be true to yourself.
“You’ve maybe got to put yourself in the same position as other managers and other clubs to make sure you make in competitive and you try to do what Millwall probably did at Coventry on Tuesday.
“That was a dead rubber match but they showed great professionalism and won the game. That gave us the opportunity to retain our Championsip status as long with Peterborough.”
The Reds have lost their last two league matches, but Hill knows a victory over the Robins would secure at least a 19th place finish this season - and potentially a high of 18th if his team can pick up points at home to Brighton on the last day of the season.
Hill said: “We’ve got to play with a lot of pride and finish the season as well as we can. Next season we need four or five players who have Championship experience to help us. It’s not going to be easy, we know that, but we’ve got targets and we’ll work really hard to get those players.
“We’ve done a great job to retain our Championship status this season, there’s a lot of pride with what we’ve done.”
“But next season we’re going to have the same budget so we have to work within our budgets.”
Defenders Scott Golbourne (thigh) and Rob Edwards (dead leg) are missing for tomorrow’s match, as is winger Matt Done who is sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Luke Steele had surgery yesterday for an abdomen injury which he expects to take as many five weeks to full recover from.