Barnsley: Why Heckingbottom feels team unity is the key for Reds

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom
Have your say

Reds boss Paul Heckingbottom believes team unity will be a key ingredient to the club’s chances of success this season in the Championship.

So much so that Heckingbottom has taken the Reds’ players out of their comfort zones over the last few days in a bid to bolster team bonding.

And even the manager and his coaching staff got stuck in as the squad were put through their paces at an intensive army training camp in Warminster.

The Reds stayed in Bath ahead of their pre-season clash with Cheltenham Town last night, with mouth-watering pre-season clashes with Everton and Hull just around the corner.

And it was a chance for Heckingbottom to see his players push themselves sporting boiler suits in the boiling heat, not to mention a good chance for the club’s new players to bond with their new teammates.

“It was hard work, but a lot of fun at the same time,” said Heckingbottom, speaking to The Star. “We took the players out of their comfort zone.

“We’ve got a tight unit and that will be important this season because we know it’s going to be tough.

“It’s been very basic conditions for everyone. We’ve been in rooms with just a bed and no TV, so there’s been no mod-cons.

“It’s been a good way of integrating everyone, especially the new players.

“We put on loads of training and bonding sessions, which has been great.

“Even me and Vaughney [goalkeeping coach John Vaughan] have been getting involved; it’s been tough.

The Reds’ players ran tough assault courses, carried heavy tyres and logs as team-building exercises, as well as having got involved in a spot of targeting shooting. Heckingbottom has been pleased with his squad’s progress, with new signings Stefan Payne, Kayden Jackson, Andy Yiadom, George Moncur, Elliott Lee and Tom Bradshaw having settled in well.

Payne, in particular, has sparkled in pre-season and, ahead of last night’s clash with the Robins, had bagged four goals in two games.

Sought-after hitman Bradshaw and influential winger Adam Hammill have also found the back of the net, promising signs ahead of the new season.

“Pre-season has been really pleasing, but we’ve still got a lot to work on,” stressed Heckingbottom.

*Barnsley clinched a fourth consecutive pre-season win last night, defeating Cheltenham Town 3-1 at Whaddon Road. Striker Sam Winnall bagged a brace and Shaun Tuton grabbed a third in the closing stages as the Reds maintained their impressive form.