Fletcher’s best performance yet, says Barnsley boss

Two-goal Ashley Fletcher celebrates after  scoring the equaliser against Colchester. 
Picture Dean Atkins
Two-goal Ashley Fletcher celebrates after scoring the equaliser against Colchester. Picture Dean Atkins
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Caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom has hailed rising star Ashley Fletcher’s showing on Saturday as his best yet.

The Manchester United loanee bagged a brace in the Reds’ final home game of the season against Colchester.

The U’s stifled the Oakwell crowd’s end of season celebrations with a last-gasp equaliser that leaves the battle for the play-off places finely poised heading into the last game of the season.

But Heckingbottom was pleased with Fletcher’s contribution to the cause, and reckons there’s a lot more to come from the powerful forward.

“That’s probably his most consistent game from 0-90 minutes,” said Heckingbottom.

“He did well. We felt our centre forwards would cause them problems; Fletch was really positive and buoyant before the game and you sensed that he’d have a good game.

“Luckily he got the two goals and most of our good play and opportunities were through our individual quality whether it was a delivery, a run or a bit of skill.

“If we’d have been more consistent in that quality and keeping the possession we’d have created more chances, if we’d have been more ruthless we’d have taken more of the chances we created and we’d have made it an easier game.

“They’re the things we have to learn from and be better at going forward.”

Fletcher came to Oakwell from Old Trafford in January in search of first team football.

He has seen fellow United academy star Marcus Rashford get plenty of top flight game time in recent weeks.

And Heckingbottom sees no reason why Fletcher can’t follow in his footsteps and eventually break into the Premier League side’s starting XI.

The caretaker chief added: “That has to be his aim. I thought he was good first half last week against Sheffield United and we spoke about that and how he can replicate that form over longer periods.

“And he did it, so fair play to him. He’s got some real good attributes and the more time he’s spending here with us the more he’s learning how to be effective in the game using those attributes.”