No Christmas for us says Reds boss

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BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill has stressed the Christmas break won’t hamper his team’s preparations for their Boxing Day clash with Blackpool.

The Reds will be looking to bounce back from two successive Championship defeats when manager Ian Holloway brings his Seasiders to Oakwell looking for some festive cheer.

But Hill and his team, who are still within touching distance of the play-off positions, knows a victory would see the Reds leapfrog their fallen Premier League opponents in the table.

“We need to try and forget about Christmas and the lads have been brilliant. They know what’s expected over Christmas and they know we need to be training hard,” said Hill. “After the difficult fixture against Blackpool we’ve got Leeds and Doncaster.”

Hill will definitely be without injured midfielder Danny Drinwkater for Monday’s eagerly-anticipated showdown, the first of those three games during the festive period.

Manchester United loan recruit Drinkwater tore a thigh muscle in the club’s home defeat to Ipswich Town. His loan deal due to expire on January 2, but Hill is keen to sign the 21-year-old for longer.

Newcaslte United loan striker Nile Ranger is an injury concern for Monday having twisted his ankle at West Ham.

Experienced striker Andy Gray, who has scored four goals this season, is eager to get back into the starting line-up having not played since November 6.