BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill has been frustrated in his bid to sign two new loan players ahead of tomorrow’s Championship home clash with Coventry City.
Hill preferred not to disclose who the two players were having been “knocked back” by both clubs, but The Star understands that the Reds manager enquired about recruiting Manchester City midfielder Gai Assulin and Rochdale midfielder Joe Thompson.
Israel international Assulin is an attacking player with real pedigree having played 67 times for the Barcelona B side.
The 20-year-old was unable to force his way into the first team at the Nou Camp and was signed by Manchester City as a free agent in December 2010 having impressed on trial.
Assulin cannot get into the Blues’ first team either - and The Star understands Hill was keen to give the youngster his break in the Championship with his side plagued by injuries, only to be frustrated a deal could not be struck.
The Reds have eight players missing through injury, although Portuguese striker Ricardo Vaz Te will be fit for the weekend having limped off with cramp in Tuesday night’s 1-1 away draw with Derby County. Middlesbrough loan winger Cameron Park could also return to the squad having missed training last week because of a bad chest infection.
Midfielders Nathan Doyle and Miles Addison, who didn’t feature in midweek, will also be in the reckoning for the visit of the Sky Blues, but with his squad “down to the bare bones” Hill was also understood to be keen on signing his former player Thompson.
The 22-year-old has been at Spotland since 2006 and played 124 times having improved under Hill during the past few seasons.
A Rochdale Football Club spokesman confirmed that the Lancashire club had received an enquiry from Barnsley for Thompson, but a loan deal could not be agreed.
“Keith’s been trying to sign a couple of players, but unfortunately those deals couldn’t be done,” Reds’ director Don Rowing told The Star.
“We’ve been looking at month deals for both players, but I think in the case of Joe Thompson there was a problem with a 24-hour recall they [Rochdale] wanted to put in his contract. We need to sign a loan player whose going to have continuity in his contract. I’m sure Keith’s still looking, but at this stage it’s looking highly unlikely we’ll get anybody in before Saturday. Luckily we’ve got the international break coming up so we’ve got two weeks to get some players back before we play Burnley.
“We’ve got a lot of muscle injuries and I’m sure Keith and David [Flitcroft] will be looking into why that is, but we’re not going to panic and try and get in [loan] players if the deals not right for us.”
The Reds are without striker Danny Haynes, David Perkins and Matt Done.