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Paul Heckingbottom's thoughts ahead of Derby County clash

8 December 2017

The Reds Gaffer feels his young side need to find 'lost' energy as the Reds prepare to take on the Rams at Oakwell this weekend.

With a run of defeats now stretching to four games, Hecky believes the intensity has gone missing in recent performances, something that is highlighted when he and his staff have assessed the games during their analysis. 

This has prompted a slight rethink for the Head Coach in terms of preparation.

"I think the initial excitement of them being in the league and that youthful exuberance has worn off a little," Heckingbottom explained.

"And we do push them hard, because we have to, but I do think we are feeling the effects of that now a little. So a lot can come down to conditioning. 

"We had the international breaks which helped us recover, but they're gone now. The likes of Ike Ugbo and Harvey Barnes didn't even get those rest periods, so we've given them an extra day off to recuperate. It's not just physically, it's mentally too.

"So we've lightened their loads this week and probably next week too. Get them recharged and re-energised if you like. Hopefully that will help us see an increase in their physical outputs again because we have lost that, we've noticed a real drop-off."

For that change in approach to work this weekend will be tough, as a Derby side who've won three of the last four arrive at Oakwell, also unbeaten in six away from Pride Park. 

Heckingbottom is in no doubt about the challenge ahead for his side.

"They're very good," he told us. 

"Good team, good players, it's a good squad really. And Gary (Rowett - Derby manager) is getting it over now, how he wants them to play. They can have the ball, control things like that but one of their main strengths is the way they counter at pace.

"They've great players who can hurt you, we need to be wary of that."

He called on Reds supporters to make themselves heard at Oakwell as we face the Rams.

"The supporters can make a difference, we need them. When you get fans generating an atmosphere, it can affect results. These players deserve backing, and I know our fans will be right behind us at 3pm."

You can see Paul's full pre-match press conference in full over on iFollow.

 


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