Reds complete loan signings

Barnsley v Derby County. Picture Bruce Rollinson
Barnsley v Derby County. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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Barnsley yesterday completed the loan signings of Stoke City midfielder Michael Tonge and Norwich City midfielder Korey Smith, with both deals subject to confirmation from the Football League.

Former Sheffield United player Tonge, aged 28, has signed until the end of the season, while 20-year-old Smith has joined until February 25.

Barnsley director Don Rowing said the paperwork had been completed for both players and the club were waiting for the FA to approve it.

“They’re going to be having medicals at the club over the next day or so, so we’re very hopeful they’ll both be available for our next match.

“We’ve lost two high claibre players in Danny Drinkwater and Jacob Butterfield, so we’ve backed Keith [Hill] in the market and supported him in bringing in two new players.”

Meanwhile boss Hill is unhappy that some people believe the Championship club are “also-rans”.

The Oakwell outfit are always seemingly tipped for relegation before the start of every new season, although there is plenty of talent in Hill’s ambitious squad and their form this term indicates they can be a match for anyone on their day.

They have taken down big-spending Leicester City, twice upset Yorkshire derby rivals Leeds United and beaten high-fliers Hull City.

And Hill, who has only been in charge for 27 league matches, expects his squad to get better.

“We’re perceived as a relegation team. We’re seen as also-rans and I don’t like that,” said Hill.

“What we do at this club is professional, so we’re not also-rans. There’s this perception that we should be easily beaten, but we’re not.”

However, Hill has warned that no players should take their first team place for granted, especially with the need to chop and change for the remainder of the season with the possibility of a play-off place still up for grabs.

“There’s a constant reminder for players that you’re only as good as your next game. Nobody should take their place for granted in his side, especially with me being the manager,” added Hill.