Barnsley: Boss Paul Heckingbottom happy to be driving home for Christmas

Tom Bradshaw: has laryngitis
Tom Bradshaw: has laryngitis
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Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom cannot wait to get back to Oakwell today.

The Reds will end the year with back-to-back games in front of their faithful fans.

Heckingbottom’s side have had trips to Brentford and Fulham but will bring in the New Year on home soil.

The former defender said: “I must admit I’m looking forward to getting back to Oakwell and getting a couple of games there over Christmas.

“We’ll be going all out to claim the points. We’ve had a couple of really tough away games, a couple of long trips.

“There’s been lots of stuff going on off the pitch as well so it’ll be nice to get back and get the players rested for some big games over the New Year.”

And Heckingbottom hopes Oakwell is bouncing, especially given the “historic” takeover of the club last week.

He added: “I’d like to think with the historic news off the pitch that fans are intrigued and create a great atmosphere, as they always do.

“I want everyone to come down because it’s the start of something new.

“This is literally the beginning and everybody should be getting involved and be a part of it.”

Standing in their way of a happy return is Preston North End, in a Roses clash.

North End are in much better form on paper than the Reds, after extending their unbeaten league run to seven games at the weekend.

And Heckingbottom could ring the changes after revealing the squad, and coaching staff, are battling a variety of illnesses.

The most worrying is top goalscorer Tom Bradshaw, who has laryngitis.

Heckingbottom said: “We’ll have to assess Bradders because we kept him on longer than we would have liked given the game situation.”

“Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Monday is quite punishing, it’s tough so we’ll be looking to swap things around.

“Quite a few of the playing staff, and coaching staff for that matter, are under the weather so we’ll have to wait and see.”