Following his stint in charge of Barnsley Football Club last week, Paul Harsley has thanked everyone connected with the Reds for the support he received.
The 39-year-old took charge of the South Yorkshire derby at home to Sheffield Wednesday, as Barnsley fought from a goal down to secure a draw on Saturday 10 February.
“I said in the week in the lead up to the game and after the game, I’ve kind of always prepared for this,” said Harsley. "There’s a way of developing the younger players anyway, so all the stuff that would go into the game like the pre-match analysis and training sessions were all linked together.
"We made sure we gave clear and consistent messages to the players, that were easy to understand around what we wanted to do and also the threat to Sheffield Wednesday and their weaknesses. So I felt organised, I felt ready for it and I really enjoyed it.
“It was good; there were a lot of emotions, obviously - it was a big game. I thought it was a perfect game, to be honest, for us - something that we could really look forward to and get our teeth into, against our local rivals. So, standing on the touchline, there was a mixture of emotions - excitement, a few nerves floating around too.
"But, from the work we’d done in the week, we were confident that we could go into the game and give a good show. Some of the things that came out in the game had shown that the work had gone in and we were pleased with it.”
Since the arrival of José Morais as Head Coach on Friday, Harsley has resumed his old post as under 23s coach with Martin Devaney returning to the under 18s side.
The support Harsley received on social media was overwhelming, and he believes it is imperative that the fans continue to encourage the team, just as they did against Sheffield Wednesday, as the season reaches boiling point.
"It’s really nice and you feel like we had the backing on the day and I think the fans could see that the players were trying their hardest and putting a good account of themselves, so I think that helped for the reaction of the fans of me,” continued Harsley
“There was a lot of excitement; the atmosphere was good in the run up to the game - the pre-match warm ups and then when the game kicked off.
"I think when we conceded and then we scored quickly was great - I think that got the crowd right up for it, and the players kicked on from there. The only disappointing thing was that we couldn’t get the three points that I think we deserved.”
Harsley wanted to send a special message to the fans, who he felt helped him settling into the role albeit temporarily and offered support at a crucial time.
“The support myself, the players and all the staff got from the fans was second to none. I honestly can’t thank everyone enough and it shows just what a special place Oakwell can be. Keep getting behind the lads and the staff. I think there’s 15 games left now and they’re all cup finals, starting with Burton Albion; it’s a massive game.
"Then they start coming thick and fast again, so I think it’s idea that we’ve got more or less a fully fit squad who can have a really good go at it. But we just need to back everyone to get us out of a relegation fight and get behind José, along with the players!”