Head Coach relishing another tough test against relegation threatened Latics on Thursday.
Paul Heckingbottom feels that the Reds’ clash with Wigan Athletic is another crucial match in his bid to help the team to the highest possible finish.
The Reds travel to Wigan on Thursday night looking to extend their unbeaten run to four games, but know it will not be easy given the Latics are in a relegation scrap.
Wigan gave themselves hope of escaping the clutches of the bottom three with a crucial 3-2 victory against Rotherham United, moving them to seven points from safety.
Heckingbottom assessed the task ahead, saying, “They’re still in with a shout and you have to believe that right until the end and it’ll be like Blackburn, a team who give absolutely everything.
“In our last few games we’ve performed really well and dominated the games for really large spells with and without the ball against Blackburn, a team battling at the bottom and we could see it wasn’t easy. We’ve had to rely on another side of our game which is our defending. How we defend our box and put our bodies on the line and it will be much the same again. If you’re down at the bottom, you’re going to be struggling for goals, if you’re scoring goals for fun, you’re not going to be down there, however as of late, Wigan have been letting goals in. They made changes at the weekend and got the result, it was a really competitive game against Rotherham, two teams scrapping for their lives and scrapping for every point and Wigan came out on top and I’ll be expecting more of the same from them.
“We’ve just had a South Yorkshire derby, a full house, we’ve had Cardiff come to try and frustrate us but there’s nothing like playing a team fighting for their life and we saw the problems that Blackburn posed. It’ll be exactly the same against Wigan, that’s why there’s always something to play for and a lot of it depends on who you’re playing against.”
Midfielder Adam Hammill and defender Andy Yiadom remain out for the Reds through respective toe and shoulder injuries and both could be out until the end of the season.
Hecky gave an update as to their conditions and their chances of being back in a Reds shirt before the final match of the season against Newcastle United.
"Adam had an x-ray after the last home game and we knew he’d broken his toe, whether we have him back before the end of the season depends on the pain and if there’s anything else we can do to make it easier for him. We want the fracture to heal properly and then we’ll see if he can get a boot on in the next couple of weeks, but with Andy we had the slot booked for him on Saturday.
“We spoke after the last home game, he’d spoken to all the surgeons and specialists and it was looking like we’d have it done and we’ve got another season next season that will be even harder and I’m keen to make sure Yids is back fit for pre-season. Yids wanted to keep playing if he could but there’s still too much of a risk of it popping out and wouldn’t have been able to play until the last two games of the season and it’s a sensible decision to take it.
“We still have bumps and bruises and a couple of dead legs, the boys had a proper recovery yesterday and we took care of them, the lads who didn’t play had a technical session and everyone is back on grass today together for a sharp, high-tempo session.”
Despite the fact that the Reds are secured of Championship football for another season, the Head Coach feels his side have to stick to their principles in order kick on again next year.
He added that there is still plenty of time between now and the end of the season, but that he is pleased with what he has seen from his Barnsley side this campaign.
“The thing that makes me proudest is how the players behave on the pitch and in training. They’re good people and one thing I won’t let them do is not give their best in anything for themselves, and if that means they’d better us and move elsewhere, we may suffer for that but that’s where we need to be.
“On our principles, we can’t afford to shift away from that. I’m looking at the league, the possible clubs and who is coming up and coming down and next season will be even tougher. Whereas our finances aren’t changing, it’ll seem like we’re going backwards because of the other clubs in the league but that’s how it is.
“We’ll be shopping in a different market but we know we can get it right. We know it’s tough and we’ll have to work really hard when we get the players in the building, some will hit the ground running, some may take all season but they have the have the application to get there eventually.
“I know what we work with and how well we do, it’s not by luck or fluke, it’s the environment we try and create and what we accept. Everything we haven’t got, we’ll flip it and it will become our positive and we’ll have to keep doing that," he added.
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