Head Coach urges the Reds to stick to their game plan to defeat Ipswich this weekend.
Barnsley Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom believes the Reds will show their fighting spirit this weekend in a bid to return to winning ways against Ipswich Town this weekend.
Ipswich arrive at Oakwell in 16th place in the table, but are unbeaten in their last seven matches, six of which have been draws.
But in Mick McCarthy, the division’s longest serving manager, they have a man who knows the division like the back of his hand.
The Head Coach knows Ipswich carry plenty of threats but feels the Reds have the capacity to more than match the Tractor Boys, and end their unbeaten run.
He said: “They’re a tough, strong side, they’ve not lost for a long time although they have picked up lots of draws and have changed their shape, and the results picked up significantly straight away.
“That’s coincided with Tom Lawrence scoring every time he touched the ball, but they’re a well organised side that have been in this division longer than anyone and know how to compete and win games.
“That’s our challenge, we know for a fact they’ll come here with a real mentality and desire to win the game and how they're going to do that. We know we have to be good enough to try and break that down and deal with that, whilst being tight at the other end.
“Mick knows his way round this league better than anyone, he made changes to his team, going to five at the back and the results have picked up straight away and he’s felt he had to make the change and he’s probably made them even tougher.
“It’s going to be a tough game, you only need to look at the results to see that in the way they’ve played, they’ve not lost for a long time, if they’ve gone behind they can come back, if they go ahead they can hold on.
“It’s a real tough game and probably one where we’re competing against not only good players, but a team who have the know-how as well and the experience to win games in lots of different ways.”
Tuesday evening’s 2-1 defeat to QPR is something ‘Hecky’ is hoping to put behind him as quickly as possible, but wants his side to learn from the errors they made against the R’s.
Idrissa Sylla and an unfortunate Angus MacDonald own goal gave the Londoners victory, despite Tom Bradshaw pulling a goal back for the Reds. He outlined where the Reds will need to be better to counteract the threats of Ipswich.
'Hecky' added: “It was similar to Derby but probably exaggerated even more so, we look back from the game and I’m sure the players will feel they were in a really tough game.
“QPR caused problems and they’ll be thinking all this but at the end of the day, they had two shots on target and one of them was a goal who hit a lad who wasn’t even shooting.
“That shows really the story of the game. The other end of it was us being wasteful, either with the wrong decisions or execution. Chances wise we had more than enough to win the game, we know that, but the feeling of it being a tough game came from doing lots of little things wrong.
“Organisation from throw-ins, positioning from goal kicks, stopping the ball coming into the box, lots of little things which then mean you have to work harder.
“It’s about stopping as many things as you can at source and we’ve been good at that over the course of the season, it’s a good one and when we do the analysis today, it’ll be a good message to show the players."
When asked about having to mould the squad back together following the turnover of players in recent weeks, the Head Coach feels he is currently going through a pre-season with his current crop.
He feels it is about developing the group he has between now and the end of the season in order to make sure everyone receives feedback that will benefit them between now and the end of the season.
“My sole focus at the minute is going to be on that and that is it. One of our strengths has been how we’ve got the message across, how we’ve coped, how the players have responded and how we’ve been able to carry that out in most games. When we don’t, we look at how we can improve it once again, and we knew what was going to happen in that moment of time.
“One of the reasons we’re changing the team is to try and give those learning opportunities and speed up the process because we could keep the same 11 every time, but it’s only those 11 that are getting the real feedback from us.
“One reason we’d change a team is to freshen it up, and then also look at what this player needs now and form a view, otherwise you’re not 100% sure.
“We know how we want to play, that’s not changing. What we have changed are tiny little details, how we defend from the front, how we deal with different situations because that is different from League One.
“The quality of player, slight tactical alternations that happen anyway during the season, those we’ve made, they’ll be opposition that have picked up on that and will change again when they play us.
“We’re forever changing, but more in a subtle way and how we want to play, what we expect and how we set the team up, the principles have stayed the same throughout, we’ve just tried to get better at it,” he added.
Injuries are not a concern for Heckingbottom heading into this weekend’s fixture, despite some players taking knocks in previous matches.
He gave his injury news ahead of the visit of Ipswich, assessing the short-term and long-term absentees.
“We’re much the same, we have the usual knocks and things from the games so there may be one or two not training, but hopefully we’ll have everyone fit for Saturday.
“There’s none that we’re worried about, it’s the usual thing, we’re monitoring them. Gethin did his toe the game before last, Yids had a bang on his knee but it’s just the usual bumps and bruises.
“Aidy is still some way off, he’s had surgery to correct a problem, when you’ve had a problem for the length of time and he’s playing with it and it becomes chronic, there’s always complications in that.
“That’s the stage we’re at with Aidy, not just on his injury but mentally as well to keep him going and push him through it because these are difficult ones.
“I don’t know, from my experience as a player and helping Ryan Williams through his, it’s silly to put a target on it, Aidy is ready when he’s ready,” he added.
Watch the full press conference with the Head Coach HERE on Barnsley PlayerHD!
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