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Hecky: "We need to finish the season well."

27 April 2017

Paul Heckingbottom spoke to the assembled media at Oakwell today to preview the final home fixture of the 2016/17 season against Burton Albion.

The Reds Gaffer began the conference by clearing up one or two injury queries. 

Captain Marc Roberts limped off at half-time last Saturday against Bristol City and Hecky today confirmed that the Barnsley-born centre half will miss the two remaining games of the season, starting with the visit of Burton to Oakwell this Saturday.

"He's struggling is Robbo, so he'll definitely be out" he told us. "He won't play again this season. He's having to walk about in a big protective boot so he'll be wearing that for the next couple of weeks. It's disappointing obviously but I'm more disappointed for him because he's not going to get the chance to finish a season which he's been a big part of and done really well.

"We need to now get him right, make sure his rehab goes well and then he's fit and raring to go for us in pre-season.

"That's similar to how we've gone about it with Andy Yiadom. We had a decision to make and whilst we'd all love to have our strongest available team out there and win games, we also need to think long-term and make sure we have them ready for pre-season.

"Adam Hammill's doing well but again, it's a fracture in his case and so we have to be careful. I hope we see him again, I think we'll have him back training at least."

Despite the loss of Roberts, it's timely that Adam Jackson has returned to training.

As Hecky explained, it's a case of one out and one in.

He said: "Jacko is back in training and that's a boost. It's one in and one out for us in that respect hopefully. Losing Robbo last week cost us the game, as we don't carry a big squad and then we're running the risk of being caught out cover-wise. 

"It was the Sheffield Wednesday game and the lack of full-back cover that caught us that afternoon and then at Bristol our lack of cover at centre back has cost us. I suppose we've done well though in that regard over the course of the season, we've not been caught out much like that.

"But when it does happen it's going to cost us, but there's not much we can do when we pick up injuries to a small squad."

Matty James missed out last weekend due to the birth of his son but Heckingbottom feels it's a big boost to have the on-loan midfielder available for the final two games.

"Jamo's back in" he said. "That's great for us. I think he made it to the hospital with about 13 minutes to spare! It was a close-call. But I'm delighted for him and his family, we're really pleased for him but we're also really pleased to have him back in the squad.

"But when issues like this arise it's down to the lads who aren't in the team to grasp the opportunity. They've got to take it, and some of the players have done over the course of the season, but conversely last Saturday, nobody did.

"We're a squad, we're a group and everyone gets the same attention, they all know what's expected of them, their roles, they all get the same information. So it's up to them to then take the chances if presented with one."

Next up then in the Reds final home fixture of the season are Nigel Clough's Brewers, who were promoted alongside Barnsley last summer.

The Reds boss feels that whilst the game has something riding on it for the visitors to some extent, the Reds themselves need to go out and get the three points to send the supporters home happy after a great first season back in the division.

"Burton need to stay up" Hecky said. "They'll feel they still need something to be sure of their safety. I actually saw Nigel the other night at an U23s game and he was saying how they don't want it carrying over into the last game of the season so they'll be coming here determined to settle it then.

"It's going to be difficult, their form's been good and they're a really disciplined side who are hard to break down.

"But we need to finish the season well. It's the last home game and it's an opportunity for the players to thank the fans and the fans too, they'll get to thank the players. It's been a great season and three points on Saturday would be very welcome."

You can see the full interview with Hecky over on Barnsley Player HD.

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