A year since taking charge of Barnsley on a, then, temporary basis, Paul Heckingbottom is looking for his side to rediscover the good habits which saw his lead the Reds to a stunning rise back into the Championship..
Heckingbottom took over after former boss Lee Johnson jumped ship to Bristol City last season. At the time the club were at the bottom of the table fearing relegation to League Two.
However, Heckingbottom and the squad embarked on a meteoric surge to the second tier through the play-offs - whilst picking up the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley along the way.
“It has been some sort of rise for the Football Club but I think along the way we understand what we did well,” said Heckingbottom whose side face Reading at the Madejski Stadium tomorrow.
“It’s a case now of trying to replicate that again and build on it to become even stronger.
“The best way to sum it up is that I missed a holiday because we ended up getting in the play-offs and I think I booked it when we were bottom of the league.
“It wasn’t preparing myself for it [the head coach role]. I know lots of my friends will like to manage so a lot of their preparations are about trying to prepare themselves for when they do it but I wasn’t, but all my preparation was about coaching.
“The more I think about it when I look back, my frustrations were always things that limited what I could do in terms of management from above. When I look back, I probably was always not going to be satisfied unless I was in charge of something and I’m still the same now.”
Andy Yiadom returned to training yesterday after returning from the African Cup of Nations.
Ryan Williams is also available after recovering from illness, although centre-back Adam Jackson has been struck down by the bug.
The timescale for Aidy White’s recovery is unknown after he had an operation to repair a recurrence of his pelvic injury.
The Reds are full of confidence heading to play-off hopefuls Reading tomorrow, having lost just twice in their last nine in the league.
Heckingbottom added: “Reading are a good side, I enjoyed watching them.
“The sending off sort of changed the game here, we were pushing but I thought they defended fantastically well and deserved the win.
“Straight after the game, I know it sounds strange, but I was already thinking about playing them away.
“They were a bit different and I like how Jaap Stam has got them playing, the players that they’ve got, so I’m really looking forward to it.”