Foster hails new era at Oakwell

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STEPHEN Foster is excited about a new era at Barnsley under new boss Keith Hill.

Foster and his teammates return to full pre-season today and they’ll have six new players to get to know at Oakwell with Hill having wasted little time in recruiting since he took over the managerial reigns from former boss Mark Robins.

Defenders Scott Wiseman and James McNulty, midfielders Miles Addison (loan), David Perkins and Matt Done, as well as striker Craig Davies will be the new faces for the first day of training.

The squad will get the chance to bond even further with Hill taking his charges to Marbella for an intensive week-long training camp ahead of their opening pre-season fixture away to Hibernian on Saturday July 16.

“Whether you can look forward to pre-season, I’m not sure because you know how much hard work is involved,” joked Foster.

“But I’m really looking forward to seeing the lads and getting ready for next season.

“I enjoyed playing under Mark, but we’ve got to move on now and try and take this club forward next season.

“It’s going to be a change this season for us, it’s going to be exciting to get to know the new staff and to train and get to know the new players.

“We’re going to Marbella as well so we’re going to be spending a lot more time with each other than we’re used too, so that should be interesting.”

When Hill was in charge at Rochdale he took his team to the same training resort and was really pleased with the results he saw.

And the 42-year-old is keen for the current Reds’ squad “to live in one another’s pockets” so they can bond more ahead of the new season.

“That’s what I think it [the training camp] is all about, we’re going to spend a lot of time together,” added Foster.

“Training in the heat’s going to be a bit different and will challenge us.

“A new manager always brings a new challenge and everyone is going to be working hard to try and impress.”

Foster was a mainstay of the Reds’ team last season, forming a strong partnership with fellow centre-back Jason Shackell at the heart of the club’s defence.

But Shackell surprised a lot of people this summer when he signed for Derby County with two years left to run on his Oakwell contract.

“Shacks has moved on and so does the club,” stressed Foster. “He’s a very good player, but we’ve got to look forward now and there’s obviously going to be someone new playing at centre-back next season.

“We’ve got a few new defenders at the club, so there’s going to be good competition for places.”