Bolton Wanderers 3 Barnsley 1: '˜Hard word' beckons for defeated Reds players
A week of hard graft appears to be in the offing for Barnsley's squad after Saturday's disappointing fourth straight Championship reverse.
Former Owl Gary Madine was on target twice for the Trotters, who went into the clash rock-bottom of the table.
All the Reds had to show for their efforts in a 3-1 defeat was a penalty reply from Tom Bradshaw - his 10th goal of the season and only Barnsley’s second goal in five games.
Reds boss Paul Heckingbottom said: “We’re obviously bitterly disappointed with the result, but in one single game and given the nature of the chances we created, that was right up there with some of the best performances we’ve produced this season.
“We just didn’t take those chances. We were sloppy at the other end, too.
“We have to work hard at it.
“Don’t forget we haven’t recruited any Championship players. We can’t afford them.
“Most of these lads are from either non-league, League One, League Two, and Scotland.
“A lot of them have got little experience at this level and there is a big naivety in our squad.
“It’s a steep learning curve, but they’ve already learned a lot.
“We showed at Bolton that we just need to learn more, though. That’s it. It’s pure and simple really.
“Nothing will change in our approach. We know where we are, so we’ll keep being positive and keep improving, and hopefully keep getting results.”
Madine struck early on from close range as he converted a low Mark Little cross.
However, the visitors levelled soon after when Bradshaw’s spot-kick was slotted home after he had been tripped by Reece Burke.
Madine converted the game’s second penalty after Liam Lindsay had felled Will Buckley, before Little made it 3-1 as he scorched past Andy Yiadom before drilling home from a tight angle.
The Reds saw very presentable chances from Bradshaw, Brad Potts and sub Mamadou Thiam all go begging in the latter stages.
Changes to come?
Reds boss Paul Heckingbottom appeared to hint at potential changes to his squad after the team slumped to a disappointing defeat at Bolton.
The visitors rallied late in Saturday’s clash at the Macron Stadium and went close with a host of chances, but none were converted and a 3-1 reverse was the end result.
“We can’t always rely on scoring four goals to win a game,” said Heckingbottom.
“That means we’ll either have to change the mentality of the players or change the players themselves.
“We want to be a team that climbs the league, so we need to look at players who can take us into mid-table, into the play-offs, players who can take us even higher maybe.
“Naturally some players will fall by the wayside, while some will step up and become really good Championship players.”
Barnsley lost again and slipped to within just four points of the Championship drop zone, but credit to boss Paul Heckingbottom for continuing his positive demeanour.
The hugely popular Reds chief clearly kept his players locked in the changing room for slightly longer than usual after the defeat at Bolton, but when he did emerge he certainly wasn’t all doom and gloom.
Despite the run of losses extending as it is, it is vital Heckingbottom continues to stand positive.
That’s his way anyway, the local hero never appears down whatever the result, and that’s the way it needs to stay if he is to keep the players’ spirits up.
The Championship is tough, it has proved it can be unforgiving whoever you’re up against, but Barnsley are more than capable of stringing the necessary run of results together, so keep those chins up, lads.