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Hecky: "We will go there on Saturday aiming for three points."

16 March 2017

Paul Heckingbottom spoke to the assembled media today at Oakwell ahead of Saturday's trip to Norwich.

The Reds Head Coach first gave an update on the current health of his squad. 

Both Marc Roberts and Andy Yiadom have picked up knocks in recent games but Hecky is confident that he'll have something close to a full-strength squad for Saturday's visit to Carrow Road.

The Gaffer said: "Robbo rocked his ankle in the last game so he'll not be training fully today, he'll do something light but we're hoping he'll be back involved properly tomorrow. It's a few ongoing things then. We've been looking after Yids with his knee, and a few others are sore in places but other than that we're okay.

"I think they'll be okay for the weekend. This is one of the reasons you need to know your players, as individuals. The more you know about them as people the easier it is to gauge where they are at when they've picked up a knock.

"In terms of the longer-term lads, Aidy White's coming along fine, there's no rush there, no pressure. He needs to return when he feels comfortable in his body, we don't want him to rush and break down again."

The Reds were denied all three points last time out when an injury time goal saw Ipswich leave Oakwell with a share of the spoils and whilst Heckingbottom was frustrated with the result he still believes there were positives to take from the match, and spoke about the preparation ahead of this weekend's game.

"It was frustrating" he said. "Certainly the result was. But there were lots of pleasing things we took from the game as well. We were in on Monday, did a little debrief. Assessed the good bits and the bad, we had a few sore bodies to look after too as it was quite a physical game. 

"Then the boys went to Cheltenham on Tuesday. We changed their week around a little bit, so had them back in yesterday. They did some gym work, some spinning. It was more a physical exercise than anything. And then we'll be doing the tactical side of things in the next couple of days. So we're well prepared."

With the festival at Cheltenham in full swing, Hecky felt it was good for team-building to allow the squad to have a day at the races. Not every player returned to Oakwell yesterday with a smile however!

As Hecky explained: "I think Ryan Williams must have done okay, but everyone else I spoke to about it just shook their head! But in all seriousness I think these are good things, I wish we could send them to more if I'm honest. They're important. I used to enjoy trips like that when I was playing.

"It's definitely a big part of getting that team spirit and togetherness and enjoying the job that you're doing."

With Norwich just ahead of the Reds in the EFL Sky Bet Championship table, the Reds Gaffer explained that whilst it will be a tough test going to Norfolk it's one that his players should relish.

He said: "I reckon Norwich will still think they can do it (reach the playoffs), especially with the firepower they've got in the squad. The calibre of players in their squad, not just the 11 or on the bench, but the ones who can't even make the squad every week. They'll believe they've still got a chance.

"It's a great place to go and play, it'll be a full house and it's another big game for us against a top side who've recently been in the Premier League. It's another test for the players, can they beat Norwich again? Can they compete with Premier League players? These are the games we relish.

"We know that if we bring our best game, we're very tough to beat. We will go there on Saturday aiming for three points, as always."

Hecky finished off for today by once again thanking the supporters who've donated money for good causes recently, most notably a 'beer fund' for himself! A group of supporters raised money so that Paul could have a relaxing beer, but the Gaffer asked them to pass on the donation to a cause close to his heart, the Children's Ward at Barnsley Hospital.

"I thought they were winding me up at first" he explained. "But it turns out it was true. I kept bumping into people who kept talking about it, that I'd got these beers paid on. I couldn't drink £150 worth of beer though, not in one night anyway!

"But no, in all seriousness, it's gone to a good cause because my two eldest girls spent time on the Children's Ward when they were little and as a dad to five kids you understand what they do there. 

"It's just a nice gesture. And when I spoke to them about it, nobody said 'why aren't you buying a pint with it?', they understood what I was doing with it so I'm really pleased about it."

You can see the full interview with Paul Heckingbottom over on Barnsley Player HD.

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