Hill relishing friendly fire

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BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill is relishing doing battle with good friend Steve Cotterill on Saturday.

Hill’s on-song Reds side - unbeaten in their last seven matches - take on Cotterill’s Portsmouth outfit at Fratton Park this weekend with the Sky Sports cameras on hand to broadcast the action live from the later kick-off time of 5.20pm.

Knowing Cotterill well, Hill expects nothing less than a “very tough” test for his team on their travels.

“Steve’s a great bloke, he’s always got time for me and we chat on the phone,” Hill told The Star.

“He’s a former manager of mine and I’ve got a lot of respect for him; he’s a very good manager.

“I’m really looking forward to this weekend. The players have had a good rest, so I’m hopeful we’ll get that energy burst we’re looking for when we play again.”

Cotterill managed Hill when he played for Cheltenham during the 2001-2002 season, with Hill hanging up his defensive boots a year later after a 16-year playing career.

And his former manager has been happy to help pass on any advice and assist Hill as he’s moved up the managerial ranks, with success at Rochdale before his move to Oakwell.

The Reds lost 1-0 to Pompey at Fratton Park last season, but beat their hosts 1-0 at home thanks to a first-half strike from Adam Hammill.

You have to go back as far as March 28 1999 for the last time the Reds beat Pompey on their home patch, with a 3-1 win.

Pompey have been plying their trade in the top flight of English Football in more recent times, with a desire to win promotion back to the big time making them a difficult test for Hill’s charges.

“It’s great to be playing like on Sky because it’s a chance to show the type of football we like to play,” he said. “But it’s not ideal because everyone else [in the league] will have played and we’ll be playing after everyone.”