Barnsley caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom has his eyes firmly fixed on today’s trip to Port Vale.

Sam Winnal faces a late fitness test: Photo - James Hardisty
Sam Winnal faces a late fitness test: Photo - James Hardisty
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Barnsley ready for tpigh Port Vale test

The Reds were held to a goalless draw on Friday against Scunthorpe but remain in the Sky Bet League One play-off places.

And despite an imminent trip to Wembley on Sunday, Heckingbottom won’t be taking the Valiants lightly.

Robert Page’s men were unbeaten at home in 14 games before they were thrashed by league-leaders Burton Albion last Saturday.

“They’ve got a great home record,” said Heckingbottom, whose side has lost just twice in their last 18 games in all competitions.

“I know Burton was a slip up for them last week but they’ve been the strongest team at home this season.

“It’s another big game. They’ll still be in the hunt [for the play-offs].

“But we knew we were playing two tough teams over the space of a few days with aspirations of catching us.”

Heckingbottom played down talks of lacking depth in his squad after four starters from the victory at Fleetwood were unavailable against Scunthorpe.

Ashley Fletcher, Lloyd Isgrove and Callum Connolly were all on international duty, whilst Sam Winnall missed out due to picking up a hip flexor injury in training.

“Of course we want everyone fit and available. We’d rather have all pros fit and leave some out,” said the 38-year-old.

“We’ve got a strong eleven and a strong bench and everyone’s been contributing.

“We’ve had to change the team every week due to different circumstances and the boys have all contributed.”

Winnall, the leading goal-scorer, will face another late fitness test before today’s game and Marley Watkins is edging closer to a return.

He picked up a calf injury in the Reds’ 2-0 defeat to Southend on March 12.

The Barnsley boss said: “We’re treating him for a calf tear.

“Marley went to the specialist to get his calf drained for a dead leg and the scan came back showing a tear in the calf.

“He’s responding well now we know what the injury is and it’s settling down.

“He’s probably not fit for Port Vale, but fit for next week? Hopefully.”