Oakwell boss looking for plus points

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KEITH Hill is hoping to solve a long-running problem at Barnsley - to improve the club’s negative goal difference.

Last season the Reds achieved their highest Championship finish for five years when they finished 17th in the final league standings.

But the club finished with a goal difference of minus 11 having scored 55 goals and conceded 66 during their 46 league matches.

The previous season the Reds finished with a minus 16 goal difference with 53 goals for and 69 against and, in the 2008-09 season, scored 46 and let in 59 to finish with a minus 13 goal difference.

In fact, in the five seasons since the club won promotion back to the second tier of English League football their cumulative goal difference is minus 85.

“The goal difference has been minus 40 over the last three seasons, which is quite alarming,” Hill told The Star.

“It’s something I really want to change. Some people might be talking about the club’s lack of ability to score enough goals, but I see it more as a challenge to improve defensively.

“It’s a misconception that the club don’t score goals, they have done for the last few seasons.

“But we need to tighten up defensively and we’re going to be working on the principal of keeping a clean sheet first for 45 minutes and then 90 minutes. The more clean sheets the better.”

When Hill first took over the Reds’ managerial reigns he revealed he was happy to start building from the back upwards as he looked to recruit new players to the club.

And although he did swoop early to sign Chesterfield striker Craig Davies, Hill quickly recruited new defensive options with James McNulty, Scott Wiseman and Rob Edwards all signing for the club, as well as Miles Addison, who can play as a holding midfielder or centre back.

Added to the experience already at the club which includes Stephen Foster, Bobby Hassell, Jay McEveley and Luke Potter, as well as youngsters John Stones and Kern Miller, Hill has plenty of options going forward.

“I like multi-positional players and that’s what we need in this division.

“Stephen Foster and Rob Edwards could be a good partnership for us, for James McNulty can play centre-back, so can Miles Addison. Bobby Hassell can play there as well. It’s good to have those combinations because you will have injuries and suspensions during the season.”

The Reds flew to Spain yesterday for an intensive week-long training camp in Benavista, near Marbella, with “hard work” and “team bonding” the order of the trip.