BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill has told The Star the club have a “contingency plan” for the return of former club hot-shot Ricardo Vaz Te this evening.
Portuguese marksman Vaz Te sparkled for the Reds this term with 12 goals before a January 31 transfer deadline switch to fellow Championship side West Ham.
And as yet no Barnsley player has bettered Vaz Te’s impressive scoring run, perhaps a prudent fact given the club’s dip in form after his sale, coupled with the loss of influential midfielders Jacob Butterfield and Danny Drinwkater.
But Hill knows that, even though Vaz Te is a class act, the visitors have threats all over the pitch - and they’ll aim to use to them to get the victory their manager Sam Allardyce believes will re-ignite their automatic promotion hopes.
Draw or lose and Allardyce, a friend of Hill’s, is adamant that the Hammers will have blown their hopes of going straight up, with the play-offs their next hope of making a return to the Premier League.
“Well make a contingency plan for Ricardo, but we know West Ham are a real difficult proposition, they’ve got some great players,” Hill told The Star.
“They are the Saville Row of the Championship with respects to the money they’ve spent this season.
“Yes, ‘Big Sam’ has said they need to beat us to keep their hopes alive of getting automatic promotion, but the pressure on him is nothing like I’m experiencing as a manager here.
“There’s no real pressure on Sam’s job even if he doesn’t get the club automatic promotion. There’s no pressure on his job or his reputation in football.
“But we’re trying hard to retain our Championship status and nothing is forgone conclusion. We’ve got some really tough games coming up.”
West Ham loan striker Frank Nouble is ineligible to play against his former club, but will be available for Monday’s match at Blackpool.
Defender Scott Golbourne has been in the treatment room for a thigh injury, but he is expected to start against West Ham.