Hill is trying to get one over his old friend

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BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill is looking forward to locking horns with a good friend this afternoon.

The Reds host newly-promoted Southampton in their first home Championship outing of the season at Oakwell. And Hill knows his side will face a tough test against a side managed by his mate Nigel Adkins.

“Me and Nigel are close football friends, I completed my pro-license coaching badge with him,” Hill told The Star. “I’ve got a lot of respect for Nigel as a manager and know the side he puts out to play us will be well-organised and hungry to win. He’s done well as a manager and Southampton have had a good start to the season, so it will be tough. But it’s up to us to build on an excellent performance against Nottingham Forest, we gave a good account of ourselves and could have won on another day.”

Striker Andy Gray is the only player unavailable for the Saints match (hip injury.)

Hill said: “It’s a 46-game season. We’ve played one against Forest and now we’re coming up against another fancied side in Southampton who have started the season electric. But there’s a game-plan for them, a strategy and a real appetite to be successful. Our home form was brilliant last season, but we want to try and get a balance of the away form and results with what’s been established at this club.

“Home victories last season kept Barnsley in the Championship, so we’re looking to mirror that and improve away. Hopefully we get a good crowd in; it’s important we have a good atmosphere and the fans, who have been brilliant so far, get behind the team.”