BARNSLEY boss Danny Wilson has admitted he is “desperate” to sign a new right-back.
The Reds struggled for cover in that position for much of last season with Crystal Palace’s Jack Hunt and Liverpool’s Ryan McLaughlin having both been brought in on loan to fill the void.
And with Jim O’Brien – who played as a makeshift right-back on occasions, having rejected a new contract and signed for League One rivals Coventry City, Wilson is hungry to find a regular starter.
“We’re desperate for a right-back,” admitted Wilson. “But we can identify plenty of areas where we need to strengthen.
“But as well as recruiting new players we’re also going to give young players a chance to test themselves.”
Club stalwart Bobby Hassell, who could have filled the gap at right-back, has also left Oakwell after a decade of service, so his services can no longer be called up.
Hassell of course didn’t start a game last season and was one of a string of players released by the club this summer as the re-building process beings under Wilson’s second managerial spell at the club.
And currently Wilson has just FOUR senior defenders to call up with the new season just 22 days away and no experienced goalkeeper following the sale of Luke Steele to Panathinaikos.
Club skipper and experienced centre-back Martin Cranie, as well as left-back Tom Kennedy are both understood to be for sale if the club can attract the right price, while last season’s leading scorer Chris O’Grady continues to be linked with a move away from Oakwell.
But all three players, as well defenders Lewin Nyatanga and Frenchman Jean-Yves M’voto are currently training with the Reds’ squad on their pre-season trip to Italy until next Tuesday.
Wilson has recruited three new players ahead of the new campaign and is hoping the week-long training camp, which includes two games against last season’s United Emirates Cup winners Al Ain (tomorrow 4pm) and Italian Serie A side Torino (on Sunday, also 4pm) will be a good “bonding” exercise for his players.