BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill believes new loan signing Lee Collins can blossom at Oakwell.
The versatile Port Vale defender, who can play in the centre or at left-back, was due to sign a loan contract today to stay with the Reds until the end of the season.
And with injury problems plaguing the club’s first team squad, especially at the back, Collins could even make his debut at home to Reading on Saturday.
Defender Rob Edwards remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, although the former Blackpool centre-back hopes to return to the side in the next fortnight.
Full-backs Bobby Hassell (knee), Jay McEveley (knee) and Scott Goldbourne (thigh) are all on treatment table, so Hill was understandably keen to bolster his defence.
Hill said: “He’s a player I’ve often admired, it’s great we’ve done the deal. He’s fit and he’s got every chance of playing on Saturday.
“It was important that we didn’t wait to sign him because he’s been on the radar of a lot of other clubs, some in the Championship, so we got the deal done.
“I can’t afford to wait for the injured players to back to fitness because we’re in a fight to get points.
“Nobody had taken the plunge for Lee, but I didn’t want it to get to the stage where there was a bidding war at the end of the season and he got picked off.
“So we’ve done this loan deal with a view to a permanent move at the end of the season.
“He’s versatile and can play anywhere across the back four, although he prefers to play at centre half. He likes defending, he’s a real talent.
“I just want people to give him a chance, people have got to trust me that I know what I’m doing with signings. I won’t get it right all of the time, but if I get it right 80 per cent of the time I’ll be happy.
“We’ve got to hold our nerve and people need to realise that it’s going to take time for the new players to bed in. We’ll see more evidence of that next season.”
Hill has more injury worries with winger Jim O’Brien still sidelined with a groin injury and midfielder David Perkins out with a knee problem.
And to make matters worse Jacob Butterfield and er Luke Potter are out for the season with serious knee injuries.
“It’s very hard to recruit at this time of the season, I’ve been knocked back for four or five players already,” admitted Hill.
“January is about retaining players and then you can recruit in the summer. You only have to look at Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson battens down the hatches in January, he doesn’t let players leave the club.”