The Reds Head Coach gave his weekly update to the media ahead of the match against Bristol City at Oakwell this weekend.
Heckingbottom started by giving an update on the fitness of his squad. He was asked how the injury list was looking following the last few days of training.
“Long!” he said. “We’ve got a bit of an illness going round the Club as well so we’re trying to keep them away at the minute from the rest of the squad because we can’t afford to have anyone else missing. It’s one of those things, it happens. Scowen is suspended anyway, then Bradders and Robbo, they’re the three with it at the minute. We’ll just try and keep them away for as long as we can to make sure the others don’t pick up a bug.
Aidy White has been on the side-lines for a couple of weeks, so Hecky gave an update on his progress and potential return from injury.
“Aidy had an operation last Thursday. We were given a two week time-frame in getting him back in and he’s progressing well.”
As well as Aidy, Marc Roberts and Tom Bradshaw were missing from the victory over Brentford at the weekend so the Reds Head Coach spoke of their progress as well, before commenting on the suspension of Captain Conor Hourihane for this weekend.
“They’re getting better, Robbo will not be fit. Bradders is getting there, so hopefully he’ll be alright tomorrow. He’s (Conor) our Captain, been playing well this season and even at quiet times in games he has excellent delivery from set-plays. He’ll be a big loss for us, but as we always say it’s an opportunity for someone else to come in and impress.”
The injuries in the Reds squad have seen a change of personal across the pitch and the bench in recent weeks. Heckingbottom was asked what he would be changing this weekend, if anything.
“We could keep the same, bring someone in, change the shape, rotate around a little bit… they are all things we have got to consider. It’s about taking opportunities when they come, we’ve seen it over and over again that when people step into the team their careers can kick-off or they can nail a place down and be in there for a long time. That’s how we need to approach it and sell it to everyone. It’s a big opportunity.”
Following the excellent 2-0 victory away at Brentford on Saturday, Hecky stated that the three points is the most important part, but there were plenty of other pleasing aspects for him to witness from the touchline.
“It was good, it’s all about the three points and we always say that but we got the reward for a good performance. The difference was that there was less mistakes and better decision making throughout. We’ve played like that in a number of games, but then been punished for a lapse in concentration and not sensing danger, little things like that and we’ve conceded goals.
“We know what league we’re in and that we’re going to be punished a hell of a lot more than last season so we have to be better in everything we do with and without the ball.”
On the match itself, Heckingbottom is expecting a tough task this weekend against a side that are in search of promotion in the near future.
“They’re set up to have a real good charge at this league.” He stated. “They’ve invested and with investment comes expectation. They’re up there in the Play-Off places, in good form as well. They had a couple of defeats but returned to winning ways. They’re a strong side with a strong bench, so regardless of the state of the game at any point in that 90 minutes, it’ll be tough. If we’re in front they can make changes, if they’re in front they can tighten it up so it’ll be a really tough game.”
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