Barnsley face run-in challenge: win every game

Barnsley caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom
Barnsley caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom
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Barnsley caretaker Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom is desperate to get their play-off push back on track after defeat to Chesterfield.

The Reds suffered from a Wembley hangover as they lost just their second Sky Bet League One game in 10, in their first outing since Johnstone’s Paint Trophy success. Despite the result, Heckingbottom was happy with how his side played.

March’s Manager of the Month said: “Looking back at the performance, it was good. All the players tried to do what we asked of them.

“It was the goals-against that cost us. We could have stopped them.

“The things we’ve been doing really well in the last few games which has made us win when we haven’t been playing great, we didn’t do.”

And the 38-year-old believes there’s no better place to revive their campaign than under the lights at Oakwell against Oldham tonight.

“Gillingham are at Walsall so regardless, if we win the gap is only four points straight away so that’s great for us,” he said. “It’s far from over. If we win and Walsall win, we’re only three points behind Gillingham so straight away you’re right back in the hunt. We’ve got to win almost every game now so we’ve got to go for it. Let’s enjoy playing with tempo and a bit of freedom, trying to create chances” he said.

“When you can’t do that because teams are sitting in against you, you still have to be tight at the other end.

“Tommy [Wright, Barnsley assistant coach] knows the players who are there inside out.”

The Barnsley boss insists it will be anything but easy despite the Latics languishing in 18th place.

He said: “We know it’s going to be tough as they are scrapping for their lives.

“Since John Sheridan has gone in they are a lot more difficult to beat and they are playing with a lot more belief. They’re in good form, the league is like that. There’s not much between the teams in terms of standards.

“Some teams have real key individuals but once the organisation is right and the discipline and the confidence is there within the group, teams can be difficult to stop and we’ve seen that ourselves.”

The Barnsley boss is hopeful he can keep everybody fit going into the business end of the season to avoid a repeat of last year’s capitulation.

“Hopefully we can keep everyone fit between now and the end of the season,” said Heckingbottom.

“That gives us the chance to keep it fresh and keep the energy that we showed on Saturday.”