BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill has been boosted by the return of influential midfielder David Perkins from injury.
Perkins has not played since picking up a hamstring injury after just 18 minutes of the club’s 1-0 away defeat to Hull City on November 3.
But unfortunately Perkins is rated by the Reds’ manager as “highly unlikely” to make his long-awaited return to the starting line-up in time for tomorrow afternoon’s away clash with Championship high-fliers Leicester City.
The Reds journey to the Walkers Stadium this weekend looking to end a miserable run of nine games without a win.
And The Star can also reveal that Hill will be without midfielder Jacob Mellis for the club’s clash with Foxes.
The former Chelsea playmaker has not recovered from a “really bad” dead leg, according to Hill, which led to him limping off in the club’s last league outing against Watford.
“Perks has trained this week with us, which is fantastic,” Hill told The Star. “He’s looked good, it’s great to have him back. It’s highly unlikely though that he’s going to play this weekend, but hopefully he’ll be involved (in our next match) against Sheffield Wednesday.
“Jacob has still got a dead leg and probably shouldn’t have played against Watford because the injury has got worse. He should have said he wasn’t fit to play, but he’ll learn valuable lessons from that mistake.
“Jacob is a big loss but we’ve got options in the middle, so I’m not too concerned.”
Young midfielder Paul Digby remains sidelined with a thigh injury, with Hill keen to rest one of his most exciting talents as he “grows into his body”.
“Diggers is still out,” confirmed Hill. “He’s still growing and we have to be careful when we use him, but I’ve been really pleased with all the new lads and they need games.”
Loan signings Jonathan Greening, Marcus Tudgay, Emile Sinclair and Akos Buzsaky are set to feature against the Foxes, opponents who the Reds beat 2-1 away last season thanks to a double from former striker Andy Gray.
“The new players need games, they’ve not played much,” said Hill. “Akos is probably the most up-to-speed because he played six games at Portsmouth, but the other lads need to play more. I’ll give them their chances.
“I’ve been impressed with Marcus and Jonathan, and Emile has done well as well.
“But there’s more to come from those players.”