Hill calls on Barnsley side to close the gap on Clarets

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BARNSLEY boss Keith Hill believes tonight’s game at Burnley gives his side the perfect chance to prove they can compete with sides in the top half of the npower Championship.

The Reds travel across the Pennines to Turf Moor in inconsistent form and keen to bounce back from a disappointing defeat at Watford last time out.

The Clarets sit just five points above Hill’s men having played a game more and the Tykes boss is eager to close the gap with victory tonight.

“We’re constantly evaluating and seeing where we need to be,” said Hill.

“Where we are at this time probably represents good value for money and we can still make an impact on the teams above us.”

He continued: “We should be at least rivalling those teams [above us] and we have great opportunity against Burnley. We beat Burnley here earlier in the season, which was a good performance from ourselves. They’re in good form but I do believe that on the pitch we’re very close to them and we want to be even closer to clubs like Burnley after the match.”

Hill was instant in his recognition of the Clarets’ biggest threat - striker Jay Rodriguez, who he believes could cut it in the top flight.

He said: “We’re talking about a player who quite comfortably can take the step up to the Premier League.

“They’ve got good width, Kieran Trippier I think is having an outstanding season from an attacking aspect. They’re well organised and it’s my belief that their really good form has coincided with the fitness of Michael Duff coming back into the side. He’s a leader, a central defender, he’s got a great experience and know-how, he’s pulling everybody together. Since he’s been back in the side they’ve looked a lot more stable as a side.”

Stephen Dawson is still a few weeks away from his Reds debut but Jim O’Brien could be included in the squad for tonight’s match (kick-off 7.45pm).

See this week’s Express for all the latest sports news from around the area.