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Paul Heckingbottom reflects on Reading draw and looks towards Sunderland test

31 December 2017

The Reds Head Coach was speaking in the aftermath of yesterday's 1-1 draw with Reading at Oakwell.

In a match that Barnsley dominated and played well in throughout, it still came down to just a solitary point earned thanks to an injury time Ethan Pinnock equaliser. 

Reading very nearly pulled off the classic smash and grab, in what seemed a repeat of the Hull City fixture here a couple of months previous. 

That the Reds fought back and grabbed their first goal at Oakwell since the 2-0 win over Birmingham City in November to earn a point, that was pleasing for Hecky, who praised the spirit in the changing room.

"Delighted for the players," he told us. "They didn't deserve to be losing that, and it does show great spirit for them to keep believing and eventually getting the rewards for that. 

"But again I'm banging on about the same things, the lack of quality in the final third. I've been saying it since January, that we need players to attack in both boxes, to attack the ball. Be ruthless in each box. 

"I've had to throw big Ethan up there as an emergency striker and he's got that in him, he's well off the ground there and it's a great header. Maybe I should play him there, maybe that's the solution."

Hecky barks out instructions

It's 10 games without a win now for the Reds as they head up North tomorrow for the trip to Sunderland, but Heckingbottom believes it's just like any other game, and one that his side will be going all out to win. 

He said: "We've competed against everyone pretty much. Top of the league, bottom of the league, these lads are out there competing and fighting. 

"But it's a young group of new players, we signed them all together and you're not going to have it work 100% like that. It will take time, but these players have a real platform at this club and a chance to have really good careers. 

"Sunderland got another win, I know he (Chris Coleman) has added a little bit more youth in midfield, some extra legs in there and he'll be focused on getting them to safety this year and then pushing on, because that's how he'll see it, that there's so much potential in that club if you get it right."

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

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