Reds Head Coach wants his side to emulate the success of the play-off team of the 1999/2000 season.
Paul Heckingbottom has called on the Reds to be the best Barnsley side since the year 2000 as they bid to finish the season as strongly as possible.
Since returning to the division, the Reds have reached 13th place in the table on 52 points and are enjoying one of their best ever seasons in the division.
Heckingbottom feels the Reds need to have the target of finishing as high as they possibly can and emulating the team of the year 2000.
He said: “No Barnsley team has finished with a positive goal difference or in the top half. We’ve won 14, lost 15, but can we change that and put it in balance and while doing that, finish with a positive goal difference. We want to be the most successful Barnsley team since the year 2000 and that would be a big achievement.
“It’s something I’m going to share with the players today and show them it, get them to understand it because they deserve the credit for what they do and it’s important they highlight that to everyone and the fans understand it too.
“No matter what’s been thrown at them, they always show their qualities with or without the ball, people need to understand what they have done, which is great.
“We’ve always been chasing something like last year or proving people wrong like this year, people aren’t surprised by us now when we beat teams because they think Barnsley are a good side, which I think we are.
“With that, you lose that bit of being an underdog and proving people wrong, so we may have to say we’ve done well but this is how good we can be and recognise that this team can be the best since that play-off team and I think they are.”
Full-back Andy Yiadom is to have a scan on a shoulder injury he sustained against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday and the Head Coach hopes he is not going to be missing for the long-term.
However, there is a possibility that full-backs Callum Elder and Gethin Jones could return to action after injury and illness respectively tomorrow.
“He’s having a scan today, there’s no fracture which is good, so that’s one positive bit of news, but we’ll have to wait until we get the results back until we know.
“There’s still risks in operating, we can do it conservatively if there’s still enough strength there which would be handy for us, but if the surgeon thinks there’s a chance it will keep popping out, there probably is no point so we’ll be ruled by what they say.
“We want to get it right, we don’t want to put anyone through an operation if we can help it but we have to be guided by them because they know more than us.
“It’s been sickness and diarrhoea, we don’t know if it’s food poisoning or some sort of gastric bug. He came in to training Thursday and we hoped to get him involved on Saturday, but Thursday evening he was bad again.
“He’s done a little bit on the bike yesterday and he feels a hell of a lot better now and he’s back in training today. Callum Elder is back training today so hopefully we’ll be alright,” he added.
Reflecting on Saturday’s game with Sheffield Wednesday, the Head Coach praised the character of the Reds for battling back to claim a point.
‘Hecky’ assessed: “It was a game where what could go wrong did go wrong. Having to change people’s position with the people that were unavailable. Yids first and foremost for soldiering on, but we had to make the change.
“Scowey for filling in at left-back, the boys who came off the bench, Adam Davies with how he coped for making the mistake, so there’s lots of plusses and that’s what we have to focus on.In my eyes, we did more than enough to win it, but we have to be satisfied that we didn’t lose it.
“It’s really pleasing, you’re always looking at why we didn’t win the game but I think it’s important everybody understands how difficult a game that was.
“There’s pride when you stand there, even during the game knowing what’s gone off. To lose a goal in the manner that we did to the player who scored the goal, lots of things can affect us.
“But standing on the side you’re proud of what they are because you want your team to reflect what you feel is important. For me, that resilience and character is important so when you win, you win with a bit of class and style and you don’t brag about it.
“When you lose, someone is going to have to give an absolute worldie performance to beat you," he added.
Former Reds striker Sam Winnall netted the opener for the Owls, but once again, Barnsley battled back into the game, levelling in stoppage time through Angus MacDonald.
The Head Coach was pleased the Reds were able to silence the striker in the fashion that they did.
“I didn’t know he’d scored until I heard the crowd, but it upset little girl, she was fuming with him. So if she ever sees him I’ll unleash her on him.
“I just remember seeing him at the halfway line still celebrating when we’re ready to kick off but I’ve not seen anything inbetween that. I’m guessing he’s done it to intentionally get one back on the fans, but I’m passing judgement on something I’ve not seen.
“I’m sure the lads were dying to leave one on him but you have to do it in a controlled way and that’s what we did which is brilliant.
“I noticed when Angus scored he made sure he jogged past Sam and gave him a little tap and it’s part of the game. He understands that and he’ll have to accept what Angus did, but our players got one over on him.”
The Reds entertain Neil Warnock’s Cardiff City tomorrow evening at Oakwell and the Head Coach’s expectation of Cardiff’s turnaround has rung true.
He feels they are not to be taken lightly as they showed in the reverse fixture and hopes the Reds can produce another thrilling performance to come away with all three points.
‘Hecky’ added that all the squad are fighting to keep their places and that on the whole his squad are in a very healthy frame of mind.
“There’s no danger now, they’ll be out of trouble and they have done. They’ve picked up lots of points home and away, everyone knows how difficult they are to play against.
“We saw it when we were down there and came away with a really good win and a last-gasp winner in a roller-coaster game, it’d be nice if it’s a similar sort of game with the same outcome but they pose all sorts of problems.”
"We’re in a position where people are fighting for their place which is good, and I want to reward certain people for doing their job on the pitch and if they do it, they get in the team.
"Everyone is always fighting. We have those under contract next season fighting for their place not only this season, but next season. People out of contract fighting for a contract here or elsewhere, and people on loan from other clubs trying to prove they should be in their team.
“Everyone has something to prove but we’re focussing on the team and making everyone aware they have a chance to be the best team since the 2000 team, which is a big thing for these players and getting them to understand that,” said Heckingbottom.
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