Reds Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom spoke exclusively to Barnsleyfc.co.uk after today’s South Yorkshire derby victory over Rotherham United.
Adam Armstrong latched on to Ryan Kent’s throughball midway through the second half to secure the three points and move Heckingbottom’s side up to 7th in the EFL Sky Bet Championship.
“I’m pleased to come out with the three points. I thought it was exactly like a derby, not a huge amount of quality but a lot of endeavour, full-blooded and really competitive. Rotherham tried to make it difficult for us and we had to really match what they threw at us.
“Then as the match worn on we got more and more on top, then finished the game the stronger.”
Matty James started and finished the match to make his Reds debut in the centre of midfield today, with Callum Evans also coming on for Aidy White to make his.
On Matty James, Hecky said, “He was excellent and I am really pleased for him. He was cramping up the last 15 minutes which shows that he hasn’t been playing a lot of competitive first team football, but he showed what he’s all about with his composure on the ball and his experience. His positioning with Scowy (Josh Scowen) was excellent, only once did I go mad at them when neither were pressing in the middle of the pitch but overall I’m delighted with us in the middle of the park.
“Another debut for us as well with Callum Evans coming on, so we keep giving debuts out, we keep changing the team but we’ve got the win again.”
Adam Armstrong scored the all important winning goal for the Reds and Hecky assessed his performance.
“It was a difficult game for Arma today but I thought himself and Bradders (Tom Bradshaw) were showing signs of playing well together which we’ve been trying to get them to do, with little link-ups but not all of them were coming off. The nature of the game and how combative it was with Rotherham imposing their direct style on us, they were both feeding off scraps.
“There were two moments of quality from us and they mattered. One was Kenty playing the ball through the fullback for Arma and the second was him tucking it away, which I thought was a fantastic finish.”
Once Heckingbottom’s side took the lead they looked strong and comfortable in the match.
“We were good and if anyone was going to score again it was going to be us. I’ve said all along in this league that the first goals are vital and we’ve generally been good when we have gone in front. We can usually then catch teams on the counter and exploit the space when they are pushing because we’ve got some real good athletic players. I’m really pleased we could get the win and a clean sheet.”
A final comment from Hecky was on the fans, who travelled in numbers and backed their team from start to finish today.
“They looked like they enjoyed their day and when you get a result like that you can enjoy the journey home, albeit not very far today. It’s good for the players to be able to go and celebrate with the fans after, I think they all enjoy that as well as much as the game itself.
“We win together, we lose together, the fans are sticking with the players and they are really enjoying what the players are giving them. It’s good to see and it’s good to be a part of.”