Head Coach wants to give the fans festive cheer starting with three points against Blackburn.
Barnsley Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom hopes to give the fans plenty more festive cheer as he looks for his fourth win in five matches as Barnsley entertain Blackburn Rovers on Monday.
The Reds have not won on Boxing Day in the last six years but Heckingbottom is determined to put that right against Blackburn Rovers.
He hopes to have as many fans as possible at Oakwell for the clash with Rovers and hopes the players can put in a performance families that come to watch the Reds would be proud of.
“We want to win every game no matter what day it is. We want to win and having three games close together does make a difference.
“It’s always good and interesting to have something a little bit different. The reason why we like the Christmas period is because everyone is off and trying to get tickets.
“Families are up and there’ll be lots of people who have come home for the holidays and we’d like to get a win for them as well if they turn up and haven’t been before this season.
“There’s plenty of reasons to do well at Christmas,” he said.
Hecky added that no matter how much preparation his side can do, he does not know exactly what test Rovers will throw at them.
He added that the Reds cannot afford to take Rovers’ league position on face value as they have been performing better than the Championship table suggests.
He said, “I’d like to think we do enough preparation and I’ve watched enough Blackburn games to know what they’re about and where they could cause problems and where we could cause them problems.
“I don’t know what work Owen’s done with his team in the week, they could come here and be really focused on one thing.
“You can’t prepare a team and say this is how we’ll beat Blackburn, then shift it to say this is how we’ll beat Birmingham City and shift again.
“We have to have a way of playing that we’re comfortable in and be able to adjust, seize and take opportunities when they come.
“We’ve come a long way and improved on a number of those things but we’ve still a long way to go.
“Their form and how they’re performing now is better than where they are in the league. I know they started the season poorly and had some bad results and people were disappointed.
“But from what I’ve seen in the last couple of months they’ve been performing great and I’d like to hazard a guess that Owen will have said they aren’t getting out of a game what they deserve.
“They’re a team who are on the up and they’ll be coming to us and paying us the respect that we deserve. They’ll have looked at our qualities and strengths and will have come up with a game plan to try and stop us and win the game at the same time.”
Reflecting on last weekend’s 4-3 victory against Cardiff City, Heckingbottom feels it's important the Club played on the positive vibes from that result and take them into the coming weeks.
The way his side responded to conceding late on before going on to win the game, characteristics the Reds have been working hard to improve.
“It was the only time I’ve not gone on about anything tactical, we just wanted to use the feel good factor of the win.
“There’s little bits we’ve shown individual players since then but the main thing we take from that is the character and the willingness to keep going.
“We battled really well in the second half, even though we conceded two goals but we showed the real quality in the first half with our goals so we had everything in the performance.
“We just wanted to focus on that mentality and ride the wave.
“We felt we could have and should have got something at Hillsborough and then likewise, we could have and on another day not got anything away at Cardiff but we did,” he said.
Looking at the table, the Reds are six points outside the play-offs heading into the festive period, and yet Heckingbottom is not satisfied with the Reds’ position.
He feels they can continue their surge up the table, starting with three points on Monday.
Hecky said, “We’re not above my personal expectations, I’d hope to be higher and we’ll try and get higher, but in terms of resources and experience of the players and coaching staff we have in this league, the budget, we shouldn’t be anywhere near where we are.
“If we accept the limitations we know we’re going to fail. We know our strengths and what qualities we have got as a group, and that’s everybody at the football club.
“There’s some really good people who work here and overachieve to make us successful and the more winners you can have at a football club the better.
“One thing I know and the feedback I get from friends I have at other clubs is that teams know they’re in for a tough game and that there’ll be goals.
“But like other teams, we know areas where we need to improve and need to be better at.
“I always say, to get the win, we have to be clinical at one end and ruthless and really tight at the other and that will be the same on Monday.”
The Head Coach is hopeful of being able to welcome back Aidy White to the side for Monday’s game but Adam Armstrong is unlikely to be included as he continues his recovery from injury.
He said, “Aidy White was in the squad against Cardiff but we didn’t think it was right to have him on the bench, there were still a few too many questions like how long would he last.
“He played another 75 minutes in the reserve game in the week but he’ll be in the squad again. Adam Armstrong has been out on the grass in the last few days and when he can do all the football actions he’ll be back.
“We know the scan shows there can be no more damage it’s just when he can cope with the pain and function properly.
“Sessi is progressing really well, we did some kinetic testing the other day and strength scores for his legs muscles were more or less where he needs to be.
“He needs to keep progressing, it’s a lonely road but he’s showing great mental strength to get through that but a lot of it is down to the player and his application has been really good.”
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