Colace blow gives Reds more agony

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BARNSLEY will be without Hugo Colace, last season’s Player of the Year, for a minimum of four weeks after the Argentinean midfielder tore an abductor muscle in training this week.

Colace recently drew criticism from Reds boss Mark Robins for some lacklustre performances, but the Oakwell boss has been “impressed” with the way the player has responded since then.

And so it’s little surprise Robins is disappointed to lose Colace’s services ahead of tomorrow’s eagerly-anticipated away clash with Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

“It’s a shame because Hugo’s reaction has been positive since last week,” Robins told The Star.

“He’s been good in training, but unfortunately he’s got an abductor tear and he’s going to be out a minimum of four weeks.”

Colace’s injury is the second setback in a week for the Reds after a medical scan revealed centre-back Stephen Foster is likely to be sidelined for around six weeks having torn a thigh muscle.

But Robins wasted no time in plugging the gap at the back by swooping to sign Paul McShane on a two-month loan deal from Hull City.

The Republic of Ireland international is highly-rated by Robins and, having looked at other defenders once Foster got injured, he admits he had no hesitation in signing McShane once he became available.

“It was easy to get him once I knew he was available, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to sign him,” added Robins.

“He’s a combative defender who run through walls for you - and that’s the type of player I like.

“I’m sure alongside Jason Shackell the two of them are going to form a very good partnership.

“Paul has Premier League and international experience, he’s got great pedigree and I’m delighted we’ve got him.”

And Robins also revealed that he is playing a waiting game on full-back Bobby Hassell who has not trained this week having struggled with injury after last weekend’s 1-1 home draw with Ipswich Town.

“Bobby’s not trained and he’s got an ongoing problem, so we’ll have to wait and see how he goes. He can’t afford to miss too much training because we’ve got two big games to look forward too.”

The Reds head to the south coast looking for their first win over Pompey at Fratton Park since March 1999, but Robins side go there with nothing to fear having beaten their hosts 1-0 at Oakwell back in November thanks to early strike from Adam Hammill.

“They’ve [Portsmouth] got a good manager in Steve Cotterill who has done a good job under difficult circumstances, it’s going to be a good test for us.”