Paul Heckingbottom addressed the media this morning ahead of the Sky Bet Championship match against Reading this weekend.
The Reds Head Coach started by discussing team news.
He said, “There’s a couple of little niggles and there will be a couple not training today but hopefully we will have everyone back fit for Saturday, because we want to keep this momentum going and keep everyone involved, pushing each other on.”
Hecky continued, “Adam Armstrong got a dead-leg, just before he came off and Josh Scowen has a tight groin. Hopefully we’ll get them back and they’ll be involved. The flip side of that is that if there is any doubt, anything that could progressively get worse then we will have to look at it and make a decision. We’ve got bodies who are more than capable of filling in, and because numbers are small we can’t afford for anyone to be out for longer than necessary.”
In the last three matches the Reds have seen a player come off the bench and score a goal for the side. Heckingbottom spoke about the importance of his players taking their opportunity and making an impact when they get on the pitch.
“We’ve seen the impact every player can have, we’ve had spells this season where particularly with the front players, whoever has started the game has softened the opposition up, given everything and then the other boys have come on and capitalised. Tuesday was no different and it’s credit to everyone that everyone is having an impact. It’s not just the 11, it’s the lads on the bench as well.
“Every player will get their opportunity but it’s down to them, it’s always down to them, they’ll never get a group of staff who back them as much and put as much time into them, if a player needs anything they will generally get it as long as it’s for their benefit. On the flip side of that, we can demand that the players know it’s their responsibility to perform and prepare as well as they can, and take advantage of all the support that’s there.”
Following the excellent result and all round performance on Tuesday night against Wolves, the Gaffer spoke about a ‘good mentality’ within the squad.
“We can control our performances but not the result. Generally, as your performances get better and better the results will keep improving. We know what league we’re in and some games we may bring our best and it might not be good enough, but we brought our best and that’s what we’re looking for.
“We’ve got a good side. We knew that, and we still know it. I think other people are starting to see what good players we’ve got, but there’s lots of other teams with good players. We have a good team and a good mentality, that’s what is getting us the points.”
The visitors for the match this weekend, Reading FC, come to Oakwell just four points behind the Reds after being unbeaten in their last four matches.
On the game, Heckingbottom said, “Jaap (Stam) has brought a real distinctive way of playing, really patient, trying to dominate the ball so we know we’ve got to be disciplined and patient in how we approach it. Again, we’re just trying to win the game. They’re going to pose different challenges and there will be challenges, definitely. It’s going to be another tough test.”
Reading have so far kept four clean sheets in their opening seven matches, frustrating opponents with their ability to keep the ball.
“I don’t think it’s because they’re playing a dull brand of football.” Heckingbottom stated. “They’re trying to dominate the ball, the Dutch style if you like! Jaap (Stam) has been brought up that way as a player and then his early coaching career back over in Holland, so he’s trying to bring that style and influence into his side over here.”
Finally, Heckingbottom concluded by giving a mention to the fantastic support his side has received and told of how important it is that the fans carry that on.
“The atmosphere has been fantastic. It started to build towards the end of last season and it’s carried on. The players deserve the backing and the fans deserve the style of football that the players are producing for them. There’s a good harmony there and the fans help us no end. We know sometimes we’ll be under the cosh at home and it will be difficult, we’ll have to play some big sides with big players, so the fans have to play their part and push the players on even more, that’ll be worth a few points as well.”
Watch Heckingbottom’s full press conference on Barnsley Player HD!
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