Hassell targets return for Reds

Barnsley FC
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LONG-serving Barnsley defender Bobby Hassell is closing in on a first-team comeback.

The 31-year-old, who has been at Oakwell since July, 2004, has not featured since coming on as a late substitute in the 3-2 victory over Derby County six weeks ago after hurting his knee in training.

But the experienced Reds player, who can operate in any position across the back four or fill in as an emergency midfielder, is confident of returning to first-team action before the end of the month after a frustrating spell on the sidelines.

“It has been annoying,” acknowledged the club captain. “Hopefully I will be back in two weeks, fully fit and able to play.

“I’m looking at getting back possibly for Peterborough on March 24, if not, the week after at Ipswich.”

A brace either side of half-time from Southampton’s Adam Lallana condemned the Reds to a fifth successive defeat on their travels last weekend.

It has been a baptism of fire for Stephen Dawson since he joined Keith Hill’s side. He is discovering the hard way how tough life is in the Championship.

The midfielder, snapped up by Barnsley from Leyton Orient in the January transfer window, apologised to his teammates at half-time during the loss at Southampton, having failed to track Lallana for the opener.

Dawson said he felt he “let the team down” at the league leaders and has vowed to make amends.

He said: “I switched off and let him run by me. I’ve watched the game again and I can look back and see where I can improve.

“It’s a learning curve for myself and you can’t switch off for one second in this league because you’ll get punished, but we showed bottle to try and play the right way.”

The Reds take on Reading at home on Saturday.