Paul Heckingbottom addressed the media ahead of tomorrow night's match against Wolves at Oakwell.
The Head Coach started by giving an update on the fitness of his squad after the weekend victory over Rotherham United.
“Aidy (White) is struggling, it’s a reoccurrence of his pubis injury which is really frustrating, we’re upset for him because everyone at the Club knows how hard he works. This will now be something we have to try and get right with him again which is a real down for Aidy, but I know Sedgey (Craig Sedgwick, Head Physiotherapist) will look after him and give him the best possible care for his rehab.
“Matty James just had a bit of cramp, it’s his first, first team game in a long time and he’s been working hard to keep fit playing U23 games but you can’t compare them. It was a pretty testing derby game for him as well, I wouldn’t say there was loads of quality on show but it was very testing and physical, lots of energy and we had to stand up to that so he definitely put a shift in.”
Heckingbottom will have a new face within his squad for Tuesday night however, as Alex Mowatt will become available for selection after missing the match at the weekend due to his transfer not being completed in time to play at the New York Stadium.
“We got it over the line Friday evening, so he hasn’t been able to train with us. That’s frustrating for me because I like to know that the players know everything about the role I am asking them to do, so we have to consider that. We’re short on numbers so he will definitely be involved.
“He’s already got 100 odd Championship games which is good for us. He is a talented players who fits the mould for us, but I think that’s why we’ve got him as well because he understands what he’s coming into and he’s excited to join that type of group of players. He obviously saw first hand last week how we like to play and he wants to be a part of it.”
The Reds won the South Yorkshire derby after a solitary goal from Adam Armstrong. The forward latched onto a second half through ball and slotted home superbly to break the deadlock.
“We spoke before the game and at half-time about how we had to stand up to them, what they’d do and how they’d play. We had to match that but then believe we would be producing the bits of quality in the game and then the best bit of quality in the game came from Kenty’s great ball and Arma’s great finish.”
Heckingbottom confirmed last week that the Club had rejected a transfer request from Marley Watkins, who started and finished the game against Rotherham on Saturday.
“He was brilliant, me and Marley have had chats the weeks before about his future and how the speculation is affecting him, what a big opportunity it could now be for him and he was excellent against Leeds so none of this will bother him. If it did I would be disappointed because they know it’s their performances that are getting the attention so they have to keep doing the same.”
The Reds Head Coach also confirmed that contract discussions are ongoing between the board and a lot of the players at the Club, including Josh Scowen.
“It’s just ongoing, there is dialogue between Josh’s representatives and the Club and that’s it, that’s what we’ve been doing for quite a while. Josh has been great all the time I’ve known him, not just worked with him but known him. He’s been terrific and he epitomises what we’re about as a team, so I would like to keep working with him.
“You’ve got to try but it’s up to them, they may say no and come the summer they may get better offers form other Clubs, we know that, but we have to try and get them tied down.”
Wolves are the next visitors to Oakwell tomorrow night and Heckingbottom knows that it will be another tough challenge, especially as they arrive here off the back of a stunning away performance at Liverpool over the weekend.
“They are good I like watching them play, they are a real attacking side with lots of pace on the counter, pace in 1v1 situations, I like how they play. It’s care free which is similar to us and they’re very positive in what they try to do when they’ve got the ball and positive when they try to win the ball back, so it should be a good game.
“They’ll be looking out for the draw and what’s happening next, but I would have thought Paul would change the team as he’s tended to do that. They’ve got a good squad there with good cover in all positions so I would have thought he would make changes to face us and freshen it up to keep the energy.”
It’s now back-to-back home games for Barnsley and the Club sit just one point off the play-off positions. The local media asked Heckingbottom if this presents an opportunity for maximum points and a good run for his side.
“We’re in one now, you lot always give us the kiss of death! You say what a tough game it is, we win that one then you always give us points, then we don’t win! This is no different, we know we have to work hard in every game.
“Things are great here, when have they ever been as good as this, do you know what I mean? That’s it, when have they ever been so good. Teams might think it’s a good time to play Barnsley, but we’re 7th in the Championship with some hungry players who have lots of ability, our job is to make sure we give our best every game and if it’s not good enough then it’s not good enough.”