Paul Heckingbottom gave his thoughts on the Reds’ Tuesday night match against Peterborough United, as well as giving his feelings on the play-off race with four massive matches remaining.
Heckingbottom started by giving team news and his opinion on how his side played against high-flying Burton Albion at the weekend.
He explained, “Last week everything came at once at full back. George Smith, Aidy White and James Bree were struggling and that will be the same this week. We’d like to think we’ll have them all back before the end of the season.
“I thought the back four were excellent on Saturday so we’re not concerned. We’ve been like that all the time. Every time I’ve had to make changes, it’s someone else’s opportunity to do well and keep their place in the team.
“I was delighted to get Josh (Scowen) into the team because he deserves to be in there. We know it wasn’t his best suited position but you wouldn’t have been saying that on Saturday. He got better and better as the game went on and coped really well.
“There were some real good things from the weekend.” He continued. “Things we want to do better we will keep to ourselves, because some of it’s really important, but the pleasing aspects were that our energy was great again and we passed the ball really well. We matched a team who are well known for their physical qualities, their work rate and discipline. I thought as far as nil-nil’s go, it was an entertaining game!”
With the Reds now sitting two points off the play-off places, the Caretaker boss was determined to send a message to his players and ensure his side remained focused on catching the teams above them.
“It’s going to be great now.” He said. “Every game in our league is changing the picture, which is good and exciting, it’s great to be a part of it and amongst it. I hope we are in and amongst it till the last game because it gives everyone a buzz. There’s a buzz every day coming into work and around the town so the longer we’re in and around it the better.
“I remember we touched the sixth place a couple of times off the back of some real good wins, but we know you can’t win every game but when we did get in and around there again we changed our focus and said we’re not bothered what’s behind us. Don’t think about staying in sixth, because teams always come on runs from behind.
“It was about getting ahead of the teams in front of us and we’re adamant we can do that. Bit by bit, week by week, we’ve clawed back a point at a time and now we’re right within touching distance.”
Tuesday night’s opponents Peterborough come to Oakwell off the back of three straight wins in League One. Heckingbottom is well aware of the dangers The Posh pose to the Reds as a team who now have nothing to play for.
“It seems to have made them better!” He stated. “The shackles are off, they’ve won three in a row and they are scoring goals for fun again. That’s the kind of team they are, they play without fear. Maybe the fact now that they see themselves out of the race, they are a more dangerous team.
“It’s a strange one, you don’t normally associate that with clubs that are mid-table but that’s what has happened with them. They’re playing with freedom and taking risks, so it’ll be an entertaining game. We know that they could possibly cause us the most problems we’ve had for a while and we have to cope with that, but we have to impose our game on them because we can cause them problems also.”
Heckingbottom then had special praise for James Bree, who won The LFE League One Apprentice of the year award last night
“We’re delighted, everyone at the club is delighted for James. I know his parents and family are especially delighted. He’s in good company with previous people who have won the award and he’s getting some good recognition amongst his colleagues.”