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Interviews

Hecky On Millwall Victory

2 October 2017

The Reds Gaffer was in terrific form when speaking in the aftermath of Saturday's victory at Millwall in the Sky Bet Championship.

A brace from Tom Bradshaw and a Mamadou Thiam penalty were enough to send the Reds back home with all three points at the weekend, and Paul Heckingbottom was delighted with his team and the performance they put in for him and the Barnsley faithful.

"I thought we were good from start to finish," he told the press post-match. "Millwall are difficult to play against and they've done some damage already this season to some real good sides. They make you defend, the way they play they get plenty of balls into your box. But I think they only really had the one chance in the first 15 minutes that Davo (Adam Davies) has saved and then in the second half the Steve Morison header, so to a man we've defended our box magnificently well, and then as we grew into the game we just got better and better."

As the Reds did indeed grow into the game, it was they who created the better openings and Bradshaw once more proved how deadly he can be when presented with an opportunity inside the opponents box. 

Hecky was quick to praise his striker who in this system has lots to do to affect the game using many attributes.

As he explained: "It can be tricky up there when you're alone. We have three in attack in essence, but when you're the lone striker you're handling two centre halves. So you might see less of the ball - and again that's down to getting good quality into him - but he's worked hard and it's two great deliveries from Harvey Barnes, which was no fluke, he's picked him out twice and Bradders is where we want him between the posts and he's tucked them away.

"Seven goals, by the end of September, that's a huge return, so we're delighted for him. And long may it continue!"

Cameron McGeehan made his first start for the Club after a lengthy rehabilitation process owing to the leg-break he suffered at previous club Luton Town back in January, and Heckingbottom was effusive in his praise for his young midfielder.

"I was really pleased with him, really pleased. We went with him on this occasion for his physicality, he's a big, strong boy. He's been really patient, had to bide his time and for the right reasons. I've tested him as well, I can't make it easy you know? To get in this team. But he's fit, he's shown a lot of drive and determination this last few months so even before today I've learnt a lot about him and he did ever so well."

Another player to make an impact - off the bench in his case - was Senegalese striker Mamadou Thiam. The summer signing from France has had to be patient also, like McGeehan and after three games without an appearance he was given half an hour at The Den and Paul felt it was the perfect moment for him to show everyone what he's capable of.

"I thought it was the right time," he said. "At that point in the game, it was made for him really. We were a threat then on the counter and Millwall won't have known much about him. But again, he's earned his chance. I could have thrown him in earlier, but one thing I've always said I won't do, is hang players out to dry. That's setting them up to fail. So he was there on merit, and people have probably seen now why he's here and what he can bring to our team."

The Reds Gaffer was sent off on Saturday following the disputed penalty awarded to the hosts right on half time. 

Hecky is adamant that his team were hard done by and is still not sure why he was sent to the stands by referee, Oliver Langford.

He explained: "It wasn't a penalty. Matty (Pearson) has got the ball. That was the only dark spot on the day, that we didn't keep the clean sheet. But the players, they showed great composure, we spoke about it at half time and they remained composed, disciplined and didn't get carried away. Because it's easy to get frustrated in situations like that, but we've earned the win.

"Since the start of last season we've had 12 penalties against us and only got two ourselves until today. And that's - for and against - harsh. I can think of numerous decisions, and put forward a case, but I've to try and shield all that from the players because I don't want them saying things to the referee, we've not had any dissent all season. They'd be fined for it if they did. 

"When I've spoke with the ref at half time he's said I can't stay in the technical area, I asked him why and he's said I can't be in there. So I've come out for the second half and he's sent me upstairs, so I dunno if it's because I've spoken to him on the pitch, I don't know, we'll have to see what they say in regards to what I'm supposed to have done wrong."

Despite all that, Paul finished by outlining exactly where the Club stand as we enter the second international break of the season.

"We are where we are. We've as many points as we deserve, it's that simple. In terms of time and what we're asking of the players and the environment in which we work and ask them to deliver, there's lots of things we are really pleased about and they're doing ever so well. There's lots to improve on too, I say it all the time and it might sound boring but that's where we are.

"We've a bunch of players here who are giving everything and are trying their best to seize their opportunities. They all know they've an opportunity here. They're so happy to be here, so happy to be getting this chance, to perform, to play and to develop. 

"Like I say, we know where we are and we've just to carry on working hard and when we come back next week we'll work towards another two big home games."

You can see Hecky's interview in full, over on iFollow as well as reaction from Tom Bradshaw and highlights of the 3-1 win.


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