KEITH Hill has called for his relegation-threatened side to summon all of their fighting spirit to retain their Championship status.
Barnsley boss Hill saw his team thumped 4-0 at home to Reading on Saturday at Oakwell. It was the club’s fifth defeat in six matches which has seen them pick up just one point from 18. But despite that run, progress earlier in the season has given Hill and his side a 12-point cushion on the Championship’s bottom three clubs.
“The harsh realities of it is that we’re in a relegation fight. We need to collectively fight against that tide and change it,” said Hill.
“When you get knocked down it’s how you respond when you stand up again. We’re looking for people to fight and to show character. In these times of pressure we find out who are up to the challenges. When you’re winning everybody’s your friend, but in times of pressure you find out about the people you’re working for and with.
“You find whose working with you and whose working against you. It’s a real test.
“But this is a test I was prepared to take on. The players knew it was a test at the beginning of the season.
“I’ve got to be tough and I’ve got to be firm.
“I’ve got to try and make decisions which are going to get us the points we need to avoid us going into the last two or three games of the season in serious relegation trouble.”
Hill hasn’t been helped by the loss of key players this season which contributed the club toying with the play-offs earlier in the season.
And, with nine players still out injured, two for the remainder of the season, Hill’s job hasn’t been made any easier.
But the former Rochdale manager is a fighter and he’s been working hard to get his players fired up for the “difficult” challenge which lies ahead.
“At the minute we’re teetering on the edge. Our recent results, our lack of confidence and our performance levels when we go a goal down, are very difficult to stomach,” admitted Hill.
“Realistically we need six points [to stay up], but it would be uncomfortable to accept six points is enough from nine games. We have tried everything permutation wise to get the goals that we need, but the goals have dried up.
“I suppose the creative element has gone or been taken away from the team - and it’s difficult because we don’t have the solutions within the squad available to us.
“We have to rely on our more experienced players now.”
Barnsley have signed Tottenham goalkeeper David Button on loan until April 15.