Barnsley: Paul Heckingbottom tells Reds to build on bright start

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom
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Head coach Paul Heckingbottom has been thrilled with the way his Barnsley side have equipped themselves in the Championship so far.

The Reds have started the campaign in fine fashion and currently sit third in the embryonic second tier, with the most goals in the league, after three victories from their opening five fixtures.

Many observers thought the Oakwell club would struggle to stay up after their two-year absence in League One and owner Patrick Cryne even stated “anything beyond survival would be a positive result”.

On paper, the Reds start to the season looked tough but Heckingbottom’s players have taken to life in the Championship like a fish to water, overcoming much-fancied Derby County and Queens Park Rangers already.

Heckingbottom hopes his players can keep producing the goods and keep getting the points on the board.

“We’ve had a really good start with our first five games and if you can carry that on then you’ve had a good season whoever you are,” said Heckingbottom, who led the Reds back to the Championship through the play-offs as well as Johnstone’s Paint Trophy glory last time around.

“We don’t break it down and say ‘we’ve got this many wins from this many games’.

“If we can keep getting a couple of wins every five games then we won’t be far away.

“The most important thing for us is to win games.

“It’s all about getting wins and getting points. That’s what counts.”

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The Reds have had a week off since thrashing South Yorkshire rivals Rotherham 4-0 on their own turf.

Heckingbottom and company will be back in action on Saturday as they travel across the Pennines for their highly-anticipated Red-White Roses clash, against Preston North End.

The players will return to training this week after a couple of days off following some intensive sessions last week. And Heckingbottom is hopeful those sessions, coupled in with a few well-earned days rest, will have a positive effect on his players.

“We’ve had an adaptation week so we’ve had a couple of really hard training sessions and then a few days off,” added Heckingbottom, who took the club to Wembley twice after taking over from Lee Johnson last season.

“Hopefully when we get back to training after those few days off they’ll come back that little bit fitter, sharper and stronger.

“We’ll be back to the usual programme again with the games until the next international break where we’ll have another adaptation week.”