Heckingbottom eager to bolster forward options

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom
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Reds head coach Paul Heckingbottom insists signing a striker has been the club’s priority since they sold their goals in January.

Sam Winnall ended the season as the Reds’ top scorer, with 11 goals, but he jumped ship to arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday halfway through the season.

Captain Conor Hourihane also departed in the January transfer window, with the club losing his goal scoring prowess - and more importantly his creativity and service.

Marley Watkins bagged himself 10 goals, but he has since joined Norwich City in a free deal leaving Tom Bradshaw and Stefan Payne as the only recognised senior strikers at the club.

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“The focus was always to bring in a forward regardless of any other business,” admitted Heckingbottom.

“We sold all our goals in January and regardless of how well we performed from then onwards we didn’t quite have that x factor in front of goal.

“That’s something which has been top of the list since January really.

“The priority was always to buy some goals back into the group and to find some different combinations which we could work on up top.”

The Reds have been prolific in the transfer market so far, with seven new signings, but they are yet to add to their forward line.

Swansea City’s Ollie McBurnie was one who the club are interested in, but things have seemingly gone quiet over a potential deal over the past few days.

Heckingbottom has expressed his desire to bring in a number of different strikers and that could mean venturing into the loan market nearer the start of the season.

He added: “We want two or three in definitely. There’s no point bringing in four strikers if those four strikers are all very similar. We wouldn’t be getting the maximum benefit if we did that.”

Meanwhile, Barnsley will begin their pre-season campaign with a trip to Guiseley AFC tonight.