Barnsley duo in fitness race for Boro clash

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BARNSLEY boss Mark Robins is sweating on the fitness of two players ahead of Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated away clash with Middlesbrough.

The Reds head to the Riverside with defender Bobby Hassell and midfielder Hugo Colace in a race against time.

Hassell is struggling with a calf injury and ankle ligament damage which Robins thinks might preclude him from featuring this weekend, although the manager is hopeful the player might be fit in time and Robins believes Colace might have an even better chance of at least making the substitutes’ bench having been sidelined with a leg injury.

“We’ve got to check on both Bobby and Hugo, but Saturday might just be too soon for Bobby,” Robins told The Star.

“Maybe Watford is more of a realistic aim, but we’ll have to wait and see. Hugo is doing better than we thought, he’s got bruising on his leg so we’re not sure about that one.”

Robins has a selection headache with experienced centre back Stephen Foster now back in the frame and pushing hard for a starting place.

The former skipper has been sidelined with a hip injury with Robins having opted for current captain Jason Shackell and Hull City loan defender Paul McShane in the 1-0 home defeat to Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday.

But the manager admits it’s a “good” headache to have as the trio of players looked to earn themselves coveted starting roles.

“Fozzie has been great this season, he’ll run through brick walls for you,” added Robins.

“It’s hard for me because I wanted to get Paul McShane in and I brought back Jason Shackell on Tuesday as well.

“Fozzie’s a great lad and I don’t like leaving him out, so it’s an interesting challenge for the three of them to keep their place in the team.”

Robins knows that there’s plenty to play for in the final run in. “If we can add the goals to the way we played on Tuesday night we’ll be delighted,” he said. “There’s 15 points up for grabs, so we’ve got to look to get all 15.”