Barnsley: Matt Hill interview

Matt Hill's loan move to Barnsley hardly got off to the best of starts – the 29-year-old signed as cover for the injured Jay McEveley only to injure himself!

It looked like his stay would be short lived, but, on the contrary, the defender is now back at Oakwell and contemplating a permanent stay.

Hill, contracted at Wolverhampton Wanderers, joined the Reds on an emergency one-month loan deal in October but only two appearances were made before the Bristol-born player suffered a broken foot.

His injury gave manager Mark Robins a fresh headache with fellow defenders McEveley and Luke Potter also out and the setback also looked to have ended Hill's stay at Oakwell with the loanee quickly returning to Molineux.

In fact, Hill is now back on loan until the end of the season, back in the Reds side and admitting that even a long-term future at Barnsley could be on the agenda.

Speaking to Yorkshire Sport about the ups and downs of his loan move, Hill said: "It was good to come here to start with and get games, but then I got injured.

"I played the first two games and then got injured so it didn't quite go according to plan.

"But there were no complications in coming back and the gaffer said he wanted me back when I was fit.

"Thankfully, I came back, things are good and I'm glad to be here.

"Now the foot's fine, I can have no complaints so it's just all about getting that match fitness and sharpness and I'm making good progress on that one.

"It's all been great – the gaffer has made me very welcome and so have the players.

"I'm pleased to be playing and everyone has welcomed me – even the fans – so it's been a good start to my Barnsley career.

"It's a loan deal until the end of the season and hopefully if I can do well there might be something here down the line."

Hill has adapted quickly to life at Oakwell and in some ways it comes as no surprise with the Wolves defender having played alongside Reds skipper Jason Shackell for two full seasons at Molineux.

Both are now plying their trade for the Reds and Hill admits that Shackell's presence helped him to settle at Oakwell.

"Shacks was good for when you don't know anyone else at the club, a

familiar face always helps," he said.

The duo both have extensive experience of football in England's second tier and both played a large part in helping Wolves up from the Championship as champions in 2008-09.

But Hill also knows all too well about promotion near-misses having twice missed out in the play-offs with first club Bristol City in League One and then with Preston in the Championship play-off final against West Ham in 2005.

An unlucky play-off omen? Not a bit of it and while the Reds are still some way adrift of the top six, Hill sees no reason why the Tykes cannot get involved in the end-of-season shake-up and further more go up – mirroring the example of Ian Holloway's Blackpool last season.

"The Championship is funny in terms of results, but it's important that we try and get a run together and then you just never know," he said.

"Blackpool is a shining example of what you can achieve so hopefully we can emulate that.

"I've been involved in the play-offs and I was lucky enough to be involved in a promotion last time – it is good to play in those games.

"Hopefully there's a bit more down the line as well."

The defender's playing days began as a 17-year-old for Bristol City in November 1998 and a decade and five clubs on, Hill brings considerable experience to the Tykes.

He turns 30 in March and has around 400 professional appearances to his name.

The defender has already cracked both League One and the Championship and Hill also has two Premier League appearances to his name with outings for Wolves at Blackburn and Manchester United in the season following their return to the big time.

Hill may now be seen as surplus to requirements by Mick McCarthy, but cracking England's top flight remains on his agenda – the tough tackler pleased with his career so far but adamant that there is still much more to come.

"So far it has been pretty good but I don't look to the past," he said. "I'm always looking to progress and I'm hoping that this will work out well.

"It was a great experience to play in the Prem and obviously every player wants to play in the top league.

"I'm sure Barnsley want a taste of that – everyone wants more of it."