Caretaker Head Coach Paul Harsley addressed the media at Oakwell on Friday morning ahead of the big South Yorkshire derby clash with Sheffield Wednesday.
The Reds have had a well documented week off the pitch, but Harsley who has now been placed in temporary caretaker charge for the South Yorkshire derby this weekend, has stated how focused and determined the squad are to get the three points.
“I think it has taken a lot of people by surprise as everything happened so quickly. I think everybody who understands football understands that it’s a quick changing occupation for people to be in. I was asked to take the game this Saturday and I was more than happy to do so, I’m really looking forward to the game.
“I think after having chats with Gauthier, the conversation was to take the game on Saturday and I am happy with that. All our focus is on the game, we’re really excited by it and the players have responded magnificently. We couldn’t be happier to be here right now and the focus is to go out and give a performance.”
Harsley, who has been at Oakwell since October 2016, knows the first team squad well enough having had the opportunity to coach many of them in the U23s on occasions when necessary. He accepts this new role will be a ‘challenge’ but it’s one he’s going to enjoy.
“I think it’s a challenge, but in my approach to whatever job I have always done it’s always been with the view to being as professional as possible. Obviously there is a lot more focus now about this game on Saturday but for my staff that have come with me this week is business as usual. We’ll be well organised with the players, we’ll work with them and get our key points across. Everyone is geared towards us getting three points.”
Asked about the role of a manager in contemporary football across the globe, Harsley stated that managers changing roles is a part of the game now that everyone needs to be ready for.
“It’s the nature of the beast. The Championship is a very competitive league and there is always people looking at managers, looking at how they’re progressing and that’s just the industry we are in, you have to be ready to move with it as quick as you can and make sure you’re ready for any challenge that comes along.”
Moving on to the challenge directly ahead of him this weekend with the Owls due to arrive at Oakwell, the new-look coaching team of Paul Harsley, Matt Murray, Andy Holdsworth and the remaining John Vaughan have enjoyed a full week of training with the players who know exactly what is expected of them from the Barnsley fans.
“Our focus has now been purely on this game. There’s lots of good stuff that went on before but I have added tweaks that I want to see out there on the pitch and I’ve got the players to buy into that. We want to go out there and win the game, there’s no two-ways about that, it’s our sole focus and we’re going for three points, nothing else.
“There’s a lot been made in the press of Wednesday’s injuries and suspensions, they changed manager and their form hasn’t been great which is similar to us so this game is set up perfectly. We’re looking forward to this challenge, we’re up for it, Wednesday will be up for it and we’ll be going toe-to-toe to make sure it’s a good afternoon for the fans."
To view Paul Harsley’s press conference in full, visit iFollow Barnsley.