‘U’ can have me after all, says Keith

Ability: Keith Hill
Ability: Keith Hill
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KEITH Hill will be unveiled as the new Barnsley manager at a lunchtime press conference at the club today.

Rochdale manager Hill originally snubbed the Reds saying he was happy at Spotland and the League One club issued a statement saying it was “business as usual”.

Hill said last week: “We [me and my assistant, David Flitcroft] will be here [at Rochdale] next season.”

But Hill has done a dramatic U-turn and was at Oakwell yesterday to put pen to paper on a 12-month rolling contract to lead the Championship club next season.

Having originally failed to land Hill, the Reds tried to make Leyton Orient boss Russell Slade their number one, but Os chairman Barry Hearn rejected the approaches.

Chesterfield manager John Sheridan was then linked with the post, but the Reds and Hill started talking again and agreed to compromise on original contractual issues.

And so, 17 days after Mark Robins resigned as manager, Hill has been installed as his successor with the club looking to improve on last season’s 17th place league finish.

Hill’s commitment to playing attractive football and his ability to work on a limited budget appealed to Barnsley, who have one of the Championship’s lower budgets. Hill, 42, steered Dale to their first promotion since 1969 two seasons ago and then guided the club to ninth in their first season in League One.

He took charge of Rochdale in 2006 following the sacking of Steve Parkin and has revitalised the club with Flitcroft as his able right hand man.

This season he guided Rochdale to the brink of a play-off birth with 68 points, only three short of sixth place with nine games at home and nine games on the road.

Rochdale’s attendances have risen from an average of 2,900 in the 2006/07 season to 3,500 this season.

Hill started his playing career with Blackburn Rovers, also playing for Plymouth Argyle, Rochdale, Morecambe, Wrexham and Cheltenham before moving into management.

Factfile

PLAYER: 482 games,

13 goals.

BOSS: 231 games (101 wins, 59 draws, 71 defeats).