Barnsley: Heckingbottom looks for fans’ support to help ‘turn Sunderland over’

Barnsley Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom. Picture: Chris Etchells
Barnsley Head Coach Paul Heckingbottom. Picture: Chris Etchells
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Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom has laid down the gauntlet to the entire club - to go out there and “turn them over”.

It is not just on the pitch where the Reds gaffer wants to beat Sunderland on Saturday, he has called on the crowd to make Oakwell a cauldron for the visitors and be louder than their support.

Heckingbottom said: “It’s another ex-Premier League club for our fans to come and see so lets all challenge ourselves as a club; players, staff, fans and see if we can turn them over.

“While we’ll be challenging the players to be better than Sunderland on the pitch, we need to challenge our fans to be better than Sunderland’s. Their fans will come and sing.

“Sunderland will definitely bring some support down, we’re one of the closest teams for them so they’ll have great following and we’ll need our fans to as good as they have been.

“We’ve been good here [Oakwell]. All of last season we were good against the teams coming here. We worked hard and made it a good atmosphere. The fans made it a good atmosphere and I’m sure they will again this season.”

Heckingbottom’s former club have made a decent start to life in the second tier, losing just one of their opening four league games.

And the former defender knows just how much of a challenge it will be with the strength Simon Grayson has at his disposal.

Heckingbottom added: “There’s no hiding from the fact that they’ve got a lot of good players and a good squad. Their first loss came against Leeds and they’ve been really steady.

“They’ve got good players. Simon seems to have come in and simplified it for them - hard work and organisation.

“When you’ve got good players you’ve always got a chance.”

“They’ve obviously got massive experience coming down from the Premier League.

“They’ve lost a couple of players, but they’ve kept a few who you maybe thought would go.”

Heckingbottom is delighted with the progress his squad have made with an extra week drilled into them.

And he is ready to change the team that has started the three previous Championship fixtures.

Dmitri Cavaré’s international clearance has come through, but remains unavailable due to a hamstring strain.

Liam Lindsay got an hour under his belt in a behind closed doors game earlier in the week as he upped his recovery from injury.

Zeki Fryers and Lloyd Isgrove remain on the sidelines, but Heckingbottom is hopeful they will be back fit after the upcoming international break.