Barnsley: Reds boss Paul Heckingbottom looking forward to big home opener in Championship

Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom

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Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom believes the return of Championship football to Oakwell will be a huge occasion.

The Reds host Derby County in the club’s first home game back in the second tier of English football later today.

Heckingbottom’s charges will be looking to bounce back after a poor week, which saw them fall to an opening day defeat to Ipswich before being knocked out of the cup at the first hurdle after extra-time on Tuesday night.

The Rams reached the play-offs last term and Heckingbottom is in no doubt that they will be up there once again as Barnsley look to break a four-game winless run against Nigel Pearson’s outfit.

Both sides will be looking for their first league win of the season after Derby’s draw last weekend and Heckingbottom believes it will create an exciting spectacle for the fans.

“I’m looking forward to it,” said Heckingbottom. “They always bring a lot of fans up here so I’m looking forward to a massive atmosphere.

“It’s our first Championship game at Oakwell for a long time which we’ve all been looking forward to, so yeah it’s going to feel good.

“It’s going to be an exciting game. They’ll be coming here looking for three points but we’ll be at home for our second Championship game and we’ll be looking for the three points, so it should be interesting.

“That’s who we have got to compete against. We’re ready for it, we’re looking forward to it and that’s the test and challenge that’s in front of us now.

“The games won’t get any easier, regardless of whether it’s home or away, you see it in the Championship that there are always twists and turns in the results and it’s about performing and bringing your best on every given day.

“There are going to be some massive games here this season and I can’t wait for the fans to see the team play, get up against the opposition and put on a show.”

The Reds have been sloppy at the back so far and Heckingbottom wants his side be ruthless at the back to stop them conceding avoidable goals.

He added: “We’ve conceded sloppy goals. We conceded two from throw-ins at Ipswich, one which resulted in a penalty.

“It’s just the little things like being five yards out of position that we need to work on.

“It was silly mistakes and two guys not doing there jobs the other night [against Northampton Town], too.

“The roles and responsibilities are clear and we have to carry it out.

“We want to be keeping clean sheets, we want to be scoring first and seeing games out.”

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