Barnsley: Heckingbottom can’t wait for Reds clash with old boss

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom
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Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom is relishing a showdown with former boss Lee Johnson on the opening day of the new Championship season.

The Reds have been handed a tough trip to Ashton Gate to take on Bristol City on August 5.

And Heckingbottom, who is rebuilding his squad after a string of high-profile departures, is ready for action after a successful campaign in the second tier last time out.

“We can’t wait to get started,” revealed Heckingbottom, whose side toyed with the play-offs last term in their first season back in the Championship.

“The release of the new fixtures is always a key date in fans’ and coaches’ diaries.

“Obviously, we’re hoping to start the campaign as best we can, and as always we’ll be going out there to win.

“I’m sure that we won’t be the only club in the division hoping for an opening-day victory, and I’ve no doubt that Lee will be looking for that good start too.”

Games against Ipswich Town (home), Nottingham Forest (home), Sheffield United (away) and Sunderland (home) follow.

Heckingbottom said: “We play everybody twice, and we’ll take each game as it comes.

“But I’m pleased to have three home games in the opening month, four if we count the cup tie against Morecambe.

“Results from those games will hopefully give us a platform to take in to the remainder of the season. A good start is massive.

“Having Preston here on Boxing Day is favourable. It’s always nice to be at home over the Christmas period.

“And of course our fans will be looking towards the Yorkshire derbies. We, as staff, know how much these games mean to the fans and the players will be made aware of that, don’t you worry about that!

“If you went back a year and asked if I’d accept 58 points, finishing 14th and being safe by when we were with this many points, are you taking the mickey? I’d have been all over it.

“It would have been a 100 per cent ‘yeah’, of course it would have.”