The Transfer Deadline Looms
The next 48 hours has the potential to be one of the most hectic but also one of the most important of Keith Hills first season in charge of Barnsley F.C. Not only will he have to deal with late incoming bids for the clubs better players, he will also have to try and strengthen an already depleated squad with only minimal funds at his disposal. Hill has already demonstrated his eye for a bargain with the early season captures of David Perkins, Ricardo Vaz Te and Jimmy McNulty.

All three of the aforementioned have shown that even in this current climate there are still players available who represent value for money. This transfer window has already seen the arrival of premiership midfielders Michael Tonge and Korey Smith, both will help fill the void left by Danny Drinkwater's recent departure and Jacob Butterfield's season ending injury. The midfield duo have something to prove to their respective parent clubs and this can only help Barnsley achieve there ambitions.

Despite the two new arrivals the squad is still lacking in numbers and Hill himself has recently spoke of his desire to bring in at least 2 more players, This will as always depend on the clubs ambition and there willingness to spend a little money.

The players believed to be on Hills radar are 26 year old Leyton Orient midfielder Stephen Dawson, experienced QPR centre half Clint Hill and former PSG striker Yannick Boli. The young striker is currently on trial at Oakwell and should all go to plan he will join on a deal until the end of the season, not only would this serve Boli in an attempt to try and earn a longer term deal but also to help bolster the sides striking options. Since writing this article Boli has left Oakwell after failing to impress. Keith Hill is now rumoured to be turning his attentions to the possible capture of Motherwell striker Jamie Murphy. The Scottish forward is believed to be priced at around £350,000 meaning Ricardo Vaz Te could be sold to finance any such deal.

Possible exits from Oakwell are central midfielder Nathan Doyle who has been told to find a new club and controversially in form striker Ricardo Vaz Te. Although Vaz Te has only been at the club for a matter of months he is currently able to talk pre-contract terms with suspected interested parties from both Germany and Spain. This would be a massive blow for the Oakwell side as Vaz Te has become an instant fans favourite netting 12 goals including a hat trick against local rivals Leeds United in a thrilling 4-1 victory.

This leaves the club with a dilemma, a new contract has been offered to the Portugese hitman and if he agrees to extend his stay then all is well. However with time running out they risk losing him for nothing at the end of the season so should the club receive a bid matching there value for the player the board will be faced with a hard decision to make. West Ham United, Leicester City and Blackpool have all been linked to the player over the past week increasing the already mounting speculation.

Over the past few seasons several key players have left Oakwell for paltry sums of money, Adam Hammil and Brian Howard to name but two. If the club were to lose Vaz Te under the same circumstances then they face a backlash from the supporters who are fast becoming sick of seeing there prized assets leave for minimal amounts of money.

How much say Keith Hill will have in Vaz Te's future is anybody's guess and with time ticking it would be near impossible to replace him at this late stage.

On a results front the team are proving to be consistently inconsistent, after gaining a memorable 2-1 victory at Leicester City they showed very little against a Millwall team who have been struggling all season long and deservedly lost 3-1 at a fast emptying Oakwell. It is results like the latter which leave the home fans wondering what the rest of the season could hold, after seeing so much promise it would be hard to watch the side slip down the league table.

Such is the importance of the next 48 hours that a whole season can depend on it, if the right players are brought in I can see the club exceeding the 60 point mark in what would be a very promising and successful first 12 months in charge for Keith Hill. However if Hill fails in his attempts to capture the required new blood and the club let key members of the squad leave then it wouldn't come as surprise to me to see the Reds get sucked into the all too familiar relegation fight.

Only time will tell how important and how relevant the next two days will be but you can count on one thing, Keith Hill will be working nearly all of the allotted 48 hours making sure he goes into the remainder of the season with as strong a squad as possible and this can only be a good thing for Reds fans.

This post was contributed by Chris Johnson. A self employed cameraman, who on Saturdays works for the BBC Football League show covering Barnsley FC, Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United and Leeds United. Follow Chris on Twitter @RandomFilming, or via his regular blog View From The Gantry
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Ian Wilkinson

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