Paul Heckingbottom gave his thoughts to the press ahead of this weekend’s trip to Fleetwood Town. The Reds’ suffered defeat against Southend at the weekend and Heckingbottom wants his squad to bounce straight back, and ‘fight till the end’ for a play-off position.
Heckingbottom firstly gave an update on players who remain out injured and which ones could make a return in the near future.
“Lloyd Isgrove is back in training after being ill all last week.” He explained. “James Bree is recovering from his hamstring injury, but you’ve got to be cautious with him. Aidy White is progressing really well and he’s really positive about it. Marley Watkins suffered a dead calf, he’s getting massages on that and his bruising is coming out. Ryan Williams is longer term, his pain's subsiding and we need to get him to a stage where he can train again.”
Despite multiple injuries, the Reds have seen players from all areas of the squad come into the side and perform for the team when called upon.
Heckingbottom said, “That’s what we’re after! I said it before when the team was settled, it wasn’t just the eleven getting the results it was the subs coming on as well and making an impact.
“Likewise, if people find themselves out of the team they have to work hard and be patient to get back in. It’s a squad game, a team game, and you want everyone to be motivated to get in the team and keep the shirt.
"We’re just outside the play-offs and we know what we have to do, it’s that simple. The run has been good, the form's been good.
“It was a disappointing result on Saturday where I felt we dropped below our usual standards in terms of individually and as a collective, but on another day we would have took points from that game. It’s a good reminder that you need to be at your best to get results in this league. Southend came here and performed well.”
Saturday’s trip to Fleetwood will bring back some special memories for the Reds fans after a penalty win there booked us a trip to Wembley. Heckingbottom was made aware that Barnsley have never beaten Fleetwood in a competitive fixture over 90 minutes and he wants that to change come the weekend.
“I was there Tuesday night and they haven’t changed the way they play.” He explained. “They’re still an expressive team that likes to pass the ball and play out from the back. They create chances from it.
“On the back of that, we know we’re good enough to cope with that and turn it to our advantage. When we do win the ball we have to punish them. After 90 minutes we want to make sure we’ve won the game and that’s what we’ll be aiming for. We need to be strong and disciplined when they’ve got the ball then be creative when we’ve got it.”
With plenty of teams in and around the play-off push, Heckingbottom knows his side need to be at their best to keep themselves in with a chance.
He explained, “There’s that many teams involved in it, it’s going to be chopping and changing. Your only guarantee is winning every game to go upwards, but as soon as you draw or lose you can drop places. If teams keep going the way they are there’s going to be five or six teams in it on the last day of the season.
"Our aim is to be in and above that if we can keep our run going, but we’re prepared to fight and battle all the way to the end.”