TYKES LOOK TO STRENGTHEN
By Steve Bateman. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
NIGEL SPACKMAN is planning on some "wheeling and dealing" this summer as he looks to strengthen his injury-hit Barnsley squad at the minimum possible expense, with Grimsby's Kevin Donovan reportedly being top of his shopping list.
The Tykes are currently decimated by injuries, with Steve Hayward ruled out for a year, Kevin Austin for nine months and Finnish international Janne Salli will be sidelined until Christmas. Brian O'Callaghan, Lee Crooks, Isaiah Rankin, Lee Jones, Mitch Ward, Steve Chettle, Carl Regan and Eric Tinkler are also currently receiving treatment, although Spackman is hoping that they will all be available for pre-season training.
"We do not have a great deal of money to spend, so we need to wheel and deal. You start by looking at Bosmans and try to find something there, but everyone is chasing the same quality players. However, I would like to think that there will be one or two signings in the summer," revealed the Barnsley boss.
"If we get a few of our players back from injury we will have a bigger squad anyway, but even if we get everyone fit, apart from the longer-term injuries, we will still be short in the midfield area and that is where we need to strengthen most of all."
The former Sheffield United boss is believed to be preparing a package aimed at luring out-of-contract Grimsby Town midfielder Kevin Donovan (pictured) to Oakwell. Although The Mariners are keen to hold onto the Halifax-born 29-year-old, manager Lennie Lawrence is resigned to him leaving the club.
"He's had such a good season that he'll get offered more money than we can afford. I've tried hard, but it has not proved to be easy. It's not the boy's fault - he's entitled to get the best deal for himself that he can," Lawrence told the club's official website.
Meanwhile, Peter Handyside is another player who appears to be on his way out of Blundell Park. The Scottish centre-half had been linked with a move back north of the border with Dundee, although it now seems that the Scottish Premier League outfit have cooled their interest in the 26-year-old.
"I shall speak to him [Peter] this week," continued the Grimsby boss. "I would imagine that he'd want to wait and see. I've made him an offer and, just because he takes his time and might want to see what else is available, it doesn't mean to say that we'll withdraw it."
The former Scotland Under-21 star is thought to be the subject of interest from West Bromwich Albion boss Gary Megson. The Baggies are currently looking to strengthen their defensive unit and sources close to the club suggest that Megson was greatly impressed by Handyside during his performance in Grimsby's 1-0 win at The Hawthorns this season.