Barnsley: Every player is up to the job, says Reds boss Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom
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Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom believes whoever he picks from his depleted squad will be good enough to get the job done against Newcastle.

The Reds have now gone five games without a win, picking up a solitary point, after Saturday’s sloppy defeat to Fulham.

Conor Hourihane

Conor Hourihane

Heckingbottom’s squad host promotion favourites Newcastle United at Oakwell tonight.

Aidy White’s long-term injury, Josh Scowen’s suspension - after seeing red on Saturday - and the doubt of Conor Hourihane leaves Heckingbottom with a selection dilemma, especially in central midfield.

The Reds are waiting on the results of Hourihane’s scan on his calf injury before making a final decision on whether he features.

With the emergency loan window being scrapped, the club’s only chance to add to their limited resources would be free agents, but Heckingbottom is adamant he will bring in only players who would make the squad better.

“Pick any 11 out of the lads available and they’re more than good enough,” said the 39-year-old.

“It’s an opportunity for others to step up and show what they’re made of.

“Conor’s desperate to play but we have to weigh up the risks involved with his fitness over the next couple of weeks.

“It’s not worth playing him for one game to lose him for a few.

“We’re a bit light on numbers but we can’t complain.

“As I always say, we’re always looking, but we will only add players if they can improve the team.”

The Reds face a stern test tonight against the Magpies who have won three games on the spin.

To make Heckingbottom’s selection headache even worse, Adam Armstrong is ineligible against his parent club.

Despite the differences between the two sides’ recent form, Heckingbottom says his team will not be intimidated by the Championship big-hitters.

“It’s all about three points, who we are playing shouldn’t make a difference,” he said.

“We can do better than we did on Saturday and we have to be, we know that. At our best, we can beat anyone in this league. We’ve shown that.

“The players are on a steep learning curve and a bit of perspective is needed over recent results.”

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