The Read Head Coach spoke to the media ahead of this weekend's friendly against Everton!
Ahead of Saturday’s first pre-season fixture at Oakwell, Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom feels Everton will provide his side with a perfect test ahead of the new season.
With a near full strength Toffees side expected to travel to South Yorkshire, he is hopeful it will give his squad the chance to test themselves against a top Premier League team.
As the new season draws nearer, Hecky is hopeful the Reds will respond to the test and take momentum into the new season.
He said, “The next three games have come at a really good time and we’re getting minutes under belts. Players are ready for 90 minutes and we’ll be tested and stretched but we have to be ruthless.
“We have to try and come up with and execute a plan to win the game and we’re practicing keeping good habits against a really good quality side.
“The last few games they have played all the players that were left behind from the European Championships, now everyone is back so it depends on who they see fit to play, but we’re expecting a tough test."
The Head Coach has overseen four first team wins so far during pre-season against Stalybridge Celtic, Guiseley, Cheltenham Town and Weston-super-Mare.
Heckingbottom gave his thoughts on how pre-season has been panning out for the Reds.
“I’m really pleased with it,” he said. “We’ve been bedding in the new players ahead of the first game of the season and there’s a lot of positive energy with lads who’ve come back.
“It’s now about getting everybody up to speed and going beyond that. There are tactical things we’ve done but there are areas we need to brush up and we need the mentality of getting better all the time.
“We have to be ruthless both attacking and defending and then everyone is on the same page and wants the same thing.
“What we’ve been trying to get is a real flow and synergy throughout. If we play with a high energy, we’ll have a high tempo to our game.
“Tactically, we have to play in a way to get the most out of that, intensity can come from anywhere but we need to align everything to get the best out of them.”
He continued, “Every player has a reason to play their best but some like the carrot dangling, whether that be the opportunity to impress in the Championship or get that bit of exposure.
“It’s important for us to use that and we can keep driving players forward if we know what makes them tick.”
With the new season just around the corner, Heckingbottom is keen to take the momentum from last season forward to give the Reds a perfect start against Ipswich.
The Head Coach added the side should not be intimidated by the quality of their opponents this season and must be ready to fight hard to come away with three points.
He said: “Everyone is excited for the new season, the fans, the staff, the players, we’ve definitely got a positive energy.
“I hope we can surprise other teams because no doubt we will be surprised by some of the calibre of players we’re up against.
“We have a hunger and if we set up well and are organised, we’ll pick up points. We have to be raring to go and I think I speak for everyone when I say we cannot wait for the first game of the season.”
Watch Heckingbottom's full press conference onBarnsley Player HD!