Barnsley: Reds ready to talk to their star men

Sam Winnall and Conor Hourihane's contracts are up this summer

Sam Winnall and Conor Hourihane's contracts are up this summer

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Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom realises some of his stars could leave in the summer.

Captain Conor Hourihane and star striker Sam Winnall are just two of the names whose contracts expire at the end of this season.

Initial conversations have been started between the club and the respective players. And Heckingbottom knows it is down to the individual desire of the players as to whether or not they stay at Oakwell.

“There have been initial talks with the club telling the players we’re going to offer them new deals,” revealed Heckingbottom.

“That will be ongoing. It’s more a case of saying we appreciate what they’ve done and giving them that security if you like.

“That way they know there’s something here for them. Whether they sign it or not will be a different matter and that’s the bit where it could run on and on. They’ve played themselves into a position where they may want to sit their contracts out.

“We knew that as a club and we had to expect that because we’ve succeeded off the back of the players performing really really well.”

Offers could well come in for the dynamic duo and that is part of the game.

There is an argument the club should sell them in January - if they decide they do not want to stay.

But Heckingbottom insists there is no pressure to do so with the Reds’ paramount aim being to stay in the Championship.

He added: “If the club can’t tie them down then we need to accept that.

“We don’t need to do that [sell them in January].

“We wouldn’t sell anybody if there wasn’t a suitable replacement to come straight in. We’ve made it clear as a club that keeping Championship status is our priority.”

The games come thick and fast between now and the end of the year with the hectic Christmas schedule.

Everybody in the squad is keen to play in every game but Heckingbottom has reiterated that rotating the team will be a key to their success.

“We have to rotate, we have to keep them ready and we have to keep them hungry,” said Heckingbottom.

“People step up to the plate and make themselves indispensible for a period of time then it’s fantastic.

“Then you know they’ve raised their game to a reasonable level but we’re pleased with them all.

“We need to keep the performances up and getting points so we’ll need to switch it up.”

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