Barnsley caretaker head coach Paul Heckingbottom hopes his side play with the tempo required to create a spectacle in tomorrow’s South Yorkshire derby showdown with Doncaster Rovers.
The Reds host arch-rivals at Oakwell looking to bounce back from a 2-1 away defeat to Gillingham last weekend, which saw an impressive nine-game unbeaten run ended.
But Heckingbottom has no doubts his side will be up to the challenge of trying to get local bragging rights over Rovers – and revenge for an agonising last minute 2-1 defeat at the Keepmoat Stadium earlier in the season.
“It was a frustrating game losing to them last time, but it’s a new game and hopefully it will be a passionate game,” said Heckingbottom.
“Hopefully we will have the tempo and the pace in the game so it’s a good spectacle.
“The players are playing to impress, especially because we’ve got a Wembley final to look forward too.
“But they’re a great group of lads anyway.
“We’re going out there to try and win every single game to reward the fans.”
Centre-back Kevin Long has returned to Burnley after his emergency loan spell finished at the club, so Heckingtbottom has to make the choice of who to partner with regular starter Alfie Mawson.
The Star understands Marc Roberts is expected to get the nod, although Lewin Nyatanga is pushing hard for a starting berth.
Experienced defender Nyatanga has played some football in the club’s U21 side, but Roberts, even though he has played fewer games this season, should start.
“Longy and Alfie played really well together during the good run we’ve been on, but we’ve got three really good centre halves at this football club,” reflected Heckingbottom.
“Any two from those three, when they’re playing well, are more than good enough to cope with this league. It’s an opportunity now for either Robbo or Lewin to step up.”
Winger Ryan Williams is still missing with a troublesome groin injury and is some way from a return.
The former Fulham playmaker has hardly played this season and is yet to return first team training as he tries to get back playing regularly