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Heckingbottom: "We just want wins, wins, wins and to just keep winning."

25 August 2016

The Reds Head Coach spoke to the press this morning at Oakwell and revealed that last season's top goalscorer Sam Winnall will return to the squad to face Rotherham United this weekend.

The striker has trained well in the week after suffering a hamstring injury on the opening day and Heckingbottom will give him game time in Saturday’s South-Yorkshire derby.

“Sam trained on Tuesday and looked sharp,” he said. “I’m really pleased to have him back. He was a massive part of what we did last season.

“He had a really good pre-season and it was a shame for him to go off injured in the first minutes against Ipswich but I’m pleased for him as much as for us to have him back.

“He’ll definitely be used, he’s worked hard while he’s been injured and he’ll be in the squad. He’s a good player and we are a small squad, but we want as many good players as possible playing.”

Winnall’s return to action comes as recent signing Sessi D’Almeida was stretchered off in an Under 23's clash with Crystal Palace.

Heckingbottom confirmed the extent of the midfielder’s injury. 

“Sessi ruptured his cruciate ligament which isn’t good news and it was really innocuous. He’s gone in for a tackle but when he’s gone to push off and change direction his knee has given way. 

“Now it is about getting him fit and us looking after him during his rehab. It’s been a big move for him, he’s moved himself and his girlfriend to a new country and then he gets a shocking injury, he’s likely to be out for the season.

“We’re a small group and that has its plusses and negatives when it comes to injuries and suspensions,” he added.

Heckingbottom has confirmed that clubs have lodged bids for centre-back Alfie Mawson but that none of them have been accepted.

He is keen to keep as many of the current squad as possible at Oakwell before the transfer window closes on August 31.

He said, “There have been bids for Alfie but that’s as far as it has gone. Whether we do accept a bid or not will depend on how big the bid is.

“He’s started this season where he left off last and has chipped in with a few goals and he’s been vital for us, but it’s not just the bid that’s important, it’s a replacement.

“We see Alfie as a top defender and he cost a lot of money. It’s not just about us getting good value, it’s about getting one in as well who can play as well as or has the potential to be as good as Alfie.

“I’m not resigned to losing him, had the owner have come and said that X amount would get the deal done then we’d do that, but he hasn’t said that. So he might still be here.

“The Club’s argument is that he needs bigger and better if he is to leave, we’re a Championship club and we think we can do well so it has to be not just about the money it’s about his career as well.

“It has to be a good move and progression for him and somewhere that he deserves to be.

“We know we’re light as a squad and as a group. The 11 that are starting, the players coming on as subs, the ones pushing are all good but we do need help and reinforcements to help us get to where we want to be.

“This last week will be busy regardless, we know we need players but whether we get them is a different matter and if we get bids for our players fending them off is a different matter.”

This weekend’s clash is the Reds’ second Yorkshire derby of the season and Heckingbottom is expecting a fiery affair between the two sides.

“It’s a Yorkshire derby, the minimum you do is compete for everything. We both see each other as competitors, not only because we’re South-Yorkshire teams but we’ve gone after similar players.

“We have similar ambitions to strengthen and stay in this league and we’ll see each other as competitors whilst doing that.

“Both being near each other adds to that, fans live near or even next door to each other and it adds a little bit extra. 

“They needed the three points against Brentford and they got them plus a clean sheet. Brentford worked their socks off but I thought how many problems did they actually cause?

“They’ll make it tough and make it difficult and they’ll want to get their better players on the ball and cause us problems so we know what to expect.”

The international break follows this weekend’s game and the Head Coach would like to go into it having won three of his first five first Championship games of the season.

He hopes the side can maintain their strong start and wants to continue to make Oakwell a fortress.

Heckingbottom added, “You want to win every game and from a personal point of view you’d love to win and prepare for the next game in two weeks.

“We just want wins, wins, wins and to just keep winning.”

Watch Paul Heckingbottom's press conference in full on Barnsley Player HD!

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