Barnsley: We belong in the Championship insists Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom
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Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom believes his side have proven they are good enough to compete in the Championship.

The Reds picked up their first points since returning to the second tier of English football by beating Derby County on Saturday.

Heckingbottom and his players have had a stacked start to the season on paper with their opening two fixtures coming against two of last year’s top seven – Ipswich Town and Derby County – before a tough encounter with Queens Park Rangers tonight.

The 38-year-old feels his players have shown exactly what they are about in those couple of games.

Although he is still looking to add a couple of extra bodies before the transfer window closes on August 31.

“We’ve proven we deserve to be at this level,” said Heckingbottom.

“We’ve learned that our players are good enough, that they belong here and enjoy it.

“There’s definitely a step up in quality, in regards to the players we’re coming up against.

“We want to play like we did against Derby every week and the players want to play like that every week as well.

“We worked our socks off last season and we’ve gone up another level and we’ll have to factor that in, too.

“We probably won’t know the effects of how hard we’re working until we’re a few more weeks into the season.

“To keep doing that near the end we may need to change the way we do things.

“We need to give ourselves that luxury to change players around every now and again.

“It’s important we have options either as backup or to improve the 11.

“When things are getting tough and the players have been exerting themselves we want to make sure we can keep that intensity up.”

Heckingbottom has been watching the R’s closely since the start of the campaign and he knows the type of challenge they will pose to his side under the lights at Oakwell.

He said: “They’ve impressed me so far, they look really strong, really up for it.

“We’re facing a tough team, one that’s working really hard and I think it’ll be a real tough encounter.

“I know they’ve been labelled differently in the past but all of their players have a real intent the get the three points and they all want to be there from what I’ve seen so far.

“It’s going to be a real tough game and whoever wins will have earned it.”