Barnsley Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom spoke to the media this morning ahead of tomorrow's game against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Hecky asserted that his Barnsley side will have to be at their best if they are to have a chance of defeating Fulham when to two sides meet tomorrow.
The Reds have begun 2017 in unbeaten fashion, with a victory against Nottingham Forest on 2nd January, following that up with a goalless draw against Blackpool in the FA Cup third round.
The Head Coach feels the Reds must perform as Brighton & Hove Albion did against them last time out to get a positive result and stay within touching distance of the play-off places.
He said: “I’ve been really impressed watching them, especially at home. They’re a very, very good side and their last game against Brighton, who were top of the league, they dominated, missed a penalty but they’ll be considering themselves unlucky they didn’t win the game.
“On the flip side to that, Brighton showed everything that they’re about and everything that we have to be about if we want to win, their organisation, hunger and determination, and putting their bodies on the line.
“You have to do that against Fulham because they’re a very good side and you have to concentrate for 90 minutes because they love to dominate the ball.
“Sometimes they’re not in a rush and they’ll look to wear you down, other times they can change tempo and look to really hurt you when they break the lines and it’s going to be a tough game.
“I don’t think we’re different, if you look at that game, we were never going to beat them by having more of the ball.
“We scored the goals off the back of how we knew we’d score the goals but some of our defending was atrocious.
“We know we’re going to have to defend well against Fulham, they’ll be trying to have more of the ball than us so we have to be switched on the whole game.”
Heckingbottom also discussed his team news ahead of the match, with only two players set to miss out through injury.
“Saidy [Janko] has been back in training this week but with the time frame he has been out and his history, we need to make sure we’re really thorough with his rehab.
“We have to be thoughtful in how we bring him back because we don’t want to lose him again this season, it’s been a stop-start season for him, which is frustrating for him and for us.
“We’re not going to involve him, we’re going to continue with his rehab and make sure we’re responsible in what we do with him but, apart from that, and Sessi being injured for the long term, that’s it,” he said.
With the January transfer window open, there has been rumoured interest in some of the Reds players, most notably striker Sam Winnall and midfielder Conor Hourihane.
Hecky gave his latest on the situation regarding both players, beginning with a potential deal between the Reds and Sheffield Wednesday for Winnall.
“I don’t think its completed and that’s as much as I know,” Hecky added. “I had my thoughts on other things yesterday, I’m catching up today but don’t think its complete.
“If we lose any players we’ll be disappointed, I’ve said all along we want the best possible team and players here and Sam was one them.
“I had a good relationship with Sam, we pushed each other in different ways and I’d like to think in his time here we made him better.
“If it goes through and he’s gone, he’s gone, and I’m going to focus on the players that are here.
“He wouldn’t have gone if he didn’t want to go. Sam’s not from Barnsley or Sheffield so that doesn’t come into his thinking one little bit.
“He’s a professional footballer and he’ll be making decisions based on his career.
“Conor is in a position where there’s lots of enquiries about Conor, through different sources and like I say you could go on forever talking about it.
“Through official channels with clubs, through agents, things like this and that I would have thought will continue for a long time.
“That’s in his decision making and his people who advise him, his family and he knows that. It’s a position we’ve got a couple of players in.
“There’s been lots of interest in a few of our players and that will be ongoing. If it gets to the stage where the club were thinking about moving another player on, it would have to be a good bid that they were happy with, that’s when we’d hear about it.
“Until then, a lot of it is speculation and clubs jostling for position and while they’re asking about our players, they’re asking about five or six at other clubs.
“They’re going to be difficult to replace whoever goes, but what I’m pushing for is the replacements. We’ve put a squad together that’s got us into eighth position, the dynamic of the team is changing game by game in terms of what we think we need to do to win the game.
“We need to have those options and if players go out, we need to get replacements in who we know can keep the same sort of structure to the team and keep the balance to the squad.”
As regards potential arrivals, the Reds remain in talks with Wigan Athletic over a potential move for midfielder Sam Morsy, who spent time on loan with the Reds between August and January.
The Head Coach is keen to bring him into the Club but added they cannot afford to linger on a deal for the Egypt international.
“The deal is agreed with Wigan, it’s just personal terms and that’s it, it’s difficult because he’s not my player so I can’t really talk about him or talk to him.
“It’s just an ongoing thing between us as a football club and Sam’s representatives. Me myself and for the benefit of our team, we need to draw a conclusion to that as soon as possible.
“I hope it’s going to be done, I’m confident it will be but you never know, it’s all pie in the sky when everything changes minute on minute. These transfer windows are strange and it adds a totally different dimension to the job.
“I’m learning through the press where our players are going and who we’re bringing in. Plates are spinning to bring players in regardless.
“I think we have to be of that mindset because you don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s only right I keep pushing, and pushing, and pushing to try and get the support of the club to bring players in and they are of the same mindset, it’s the only way we can improve,” he added.
Yesterday, Hecky’ was in attendance for the funeral of ‘Mr Barnsley’ Norman Rimmington, who passed away last month at the age of 93.
The Head Coach was quick to pay tribute to all fans who lined Grove Street to see ‘Rimmo’ off and also Mick McCarthy for his words at the service.
“It was really, really good,” he said. “I missed Mick McCarthy and I gave him a ring on the way home and what he said was brilliant.
“He summed the whole day up and the thoughts of everyone who attended. I made sure to call him because he brought a tear to my eye.
“It was a really good day and I’m really pleased that what came across was that everybody knows 'Rimmo’ for football or the Town but I was worried you’d forget 'Rimmo’ and his family and that was his main focus.
“That came across in everything that was said and it was a really good day."
The Reds’ attention will quickly shift from this weekend’s clash to their FA Cup replay with Blackpool following a goalless draw last weekend.
Hecky’ is hoping the Reds approach the game in the right frame of mind and can progress into the fourth round.
“I’m just glad we’re in the hat,” Hecky’ remarked. “The lads worked hard but subconsciously, I don’t know whether they thought it would be an easier game or what but we were caught cold.
“The frustrating thing is when I spoke to them at half time about it, they knew exactly what they should have been doing. Blackpool changed their shape but we know how to play against that and what we should have been doing.
“Second half we were much better and the team sort of controlled the game with the ball but we weren’t good enough throughout to create enough chances.
“We didn’t play well, but we performed our roles better in the second half.”
Watch Hecky's press conference in full now over on Barnsley Player HD!