Paul Heckingbottom has expressed his delight after being named Barnsley’s permanent head coach.
As exclusively revealed by The Star on Monday, former caretaker manager Heckingbottom has agreed a 12 month rolling contract with the club he guided to the Championship and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last season.
Heckingbottom beamed: “At the end of an unforgettable few months I am absolutely delighted to have signed as Head Coach for Barnsley Football Club.
“Only during the celebrations after achieving promotion, did it begin to sink in exactly what the players had achieved.
“They are a terrific group of lads and is important that we carry the momentum into the coming season. We have a clear vision of how we want to continue to improve the football club and [club owner] Patrick [Cryne] and the rest of the board have already demonstrated to me their commitment to achieve this.
“It is this united front between everyone who loves the football club that is one of our strengths and one of the reasons why I am so excited for the season ahead!”
Reds Chief Executive Ben Mansford added: “We’ve enjoyed one of the most unforgettable and remarkable seasons ever here at Barnsley football club and it goes without saying that Paul has been instrumental in the success we have achieved.
“He’s one of the brightest and hard-working young coaches in the country and we’re absolutely delighted that he’s agreed to become our permanent Head Coach.”
And it was a day of movement at Oakwell yesterday as defenders George Smith and George Williams both left the club.
Both players were offered new deals at the end of last season, but neither players – whose current deals expired at the end of June - accepted the contracts and so they were withdrawn after the allotted time period for signing.
“The club decided to withdraw the contract offers to allow both players the opportunity to progress their careers and play regular first team football next season,” the club said in a brief statement.
“We could like to thank both players for their hard work and commitment throughout their time at the club and wish them the very best of luck in their future careers.”
Some Barnsley fans will be surprised by the departure of Smith and Williams, particularly the latter who made 38 appearances for the club last term.
Smith played 29 times last season, but The Star understands that the club are looking for more experienced full-backs for their first season back in the English second tier since 2014.
Former Leeds United, Rotherham United and Sheffield United full-back Aidy White has been offered a new deal and is expected to stay put.
Meanwhile, Wigan Athletic are understood to have made tentative enquiries about trying to lure Barnsley captain Conor Hourihane away from Oakwell.
The influential 25-year-old has one more year left to run on his contract.