Reds head to Loftus Road in high spirits and hoping to return to winning ways on the road.
Paul Heckingbottom wants his Reds to respond strongly to their defeat against Derby County on Saturday by producing a strong showing against QPR tomorrow night.
Barnsley travel to Loftus Road hoping to repeat their 3-2 victory earlier in the season, when Josh Scowen scored a late winner for the Reds. The R’s have been on a good run under Ian Holloway recently and ‘Hecky’ is wary of the threats that they can pose.
He assessed: “Like most teams in this league, they’ll be thinking they need more consistency, like most teams in this league, they’re tough, hard to beat and have got the quality to hurt you as well. It’s much the same as every other game in that aspect.
"We’ll prepare the same and know what a tough game we’re in for, looking at them of late, they’ve shown two sides to their game, a toughness and a resilience and aggression to their game when they’ve played with three centre-backs.
“Then in other games, for example Cardiff, they’ve shown that same shape can be expansive and on the ball take risks, try and dominate the ball so they’re another team working on different ways to win a game.
“He (Ian Holloway) knows the league inside out and the players as such. In his time in the commentary box, will have helped him watch our players and understand us a little bit and he knows what to expect from this league so I don’t think there’ll be too much we can do to surprise him, but we go to QPR in a positive frame of mind.
“Our plan is to train here this morning, it will be a short session this morning, we’ll do plenty of coaching via video tonight and tomorrow morning. Brentford have kindly allowed us to use their training ground in the morning for 45 minutes, as much as anything that’s just to get us out of the hotel.
“When I played, I didn’t like overnighters when you played Tuesday nights because it’s a long time to be sitting about, it’s just to get us out and about in the morning. We’ll be late back then early Wednesday morning so we’ll come in later on Thursday ready for Saturday.”
The Head Coach gave his team news ahead of the trip to Loftus Road, admitting there may be some doubts over defender Gethin Jones and Adam Hammill.
Heckingbottom added: “Adam Hammill got a dead leg and Gethin Jones a bruised toe, but they’ll both be alright. We’ll see how everyone is today in training but I’m expecting everyone to be fit and well.
“We’ve got Saidy coming back from his hamstring injury as well so we’ll get another heavy week into him and then hopefully have him back in contention. Things have gone against him a little bit in terms of his injuries, even when he’s trained, he’s never really been quite up to what we’re after. He’s spent a lot of time trying to get back to where he needs to be.”
Reflecting on Saturday’s defeat to the Rams, the Head Coach has had a chance to put some perspective on the game and fully reflect on the performance.
He felt that there was plenty to be pleased with from the performance, but hopes they will be able to put certain elements of their game right against the R’s.
'Hecky' said: “Watching it back, there’s a lot more good things in there than I thought, individually, there were lots of players that weren’t at their best in terms of quality.
“We still performed pretty well and there were large parts of the game where we were playing exactly how we wanted to play, our level of quality just dipped from lots of players.
“On the day, it is a reflection of how far we’ve come that we could have got something out of the game, but thinking we still haven’t reached the levels that we need to be.
“Rather than one or two just dip, we had five or six. We still had the running power and the effort in there to affect the game but we needed a little bit more quality for longer periods, and that’s not to say it should have been quality in terms of beating men and end product.
“Watching the goal back there’s nothing really I could ask. Every goal can be stopped but you’re taking the mickey if you’re saying you should be one yard that way and three yards that way.
“It’s easy in hindsight but we work to that detail in terms of one yard here and three yards. We work off positions so if we’re in that position we’re comfortable that nine times out of ten we’ll stop everything.
“When the players are doing that and it goes in, there’s nothing you can say to them because everyone was in good positions and everyone was doing their jobs and it’s literally fallen perfectly for Tom Ince inside our box.
“The second goal was sloppy, we were a little bit weak in dealing with the ball and weak in our clearance and we’re wide open again and a little deflection takes it into the corner. Those sorts of things went against us but we could have taken the game away from Derby when we went one up.”
Matty James has made a big impression on the Reds side since joining on loan from Premier League champions Leicester City.
Along with scoring his first goal for the club against the Rams, he has made himself a regular in the side and ‘Hecky’ praised James for the qualities he had brought into the side.
“We knew when we took him what type of player we were getting and the qualities he possesses,” he said. “We also knew he was still way off where he can get to because he hasn’t been getting the game time. He was working his way back from that but the reason we tried so hard to get him was because he fitted into exactly what we’re about and how we want to play.
“That, along with the fact of how much we tried to get him and the plan we had for him, Matty thought Barnsley was the place for him because maybe people didn’t make him feel as confident but we knew, because of the player he was and how he plays, he’d fit in perfectly.
“Now we’re beginning to see the benefits of that because he’s got stronger with each game. The last few games we’ve been pushing him to run forwards more and now he’s getting up to the fitness he can do it.
“I actually spoke to him this week about scoring, I didn’t think it would be a header from a long throw but it’s important we have that goal threat from midfield and when ‘Jam-o’ goes, his midfield partners are on the cover and likewise when the other midfielder goes, he goes on the cover. We’re really pleased with where he is and we hope he can continue to get better in the next 11 games.”
With the Reds currently 11th in mid-table on 50 points, ‘Hecky’ feels the squad are enjoying heading into some of the biggest grounds in the country and are playing without fear.
He hopes they can continue to play with this freedom and hopes they can continue to thrive on the enthusiasm of the occasion to push on until the end of the season.
The Head Coach added: “The lads just continue to enjoy it. Another challenge we’ll have next year, take the football part out of it, I’m not naïve enough to think it’s everything we do on the training ground, the players have been fantastic, but the players also get it subconsciously from the fact that we’re in this league for the first time again.
“We’ve been to some nice big grounds and played some big teams and it’s a challenge. We always try and harness the occasion, we’re not kidding ourselves that we don’t, we try and use that fact along with the work we do on the training ground as a motivation and an extra five percent energy, whatever you want to call it.
“Next season we’ll not have that either so it’ll be another dynamic to it that you can’t just be Adrenalin and enthusiasm getting us through it, we have find other ways to harness that and perform well tactically as well.”
To view the Head Coach's full press conference on Barnsley PlayerHD, CLICK HERE!
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