Barnsley: James Bree needs more protection, says Paul Heckingbottom

James Bree has struggled with injury
James Bree has struggled with injury
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Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom believes the club have to manage talented right-back James Bree better in the future.

The youngster is currently on the sidelines after picking up yet another hamstring injury against Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield back in August.

Despite being at the tender age of just 18, Bree has missed significant spells of football due to injury – with a recurring hamstring niggle keeping him out of the Reds’ promotion run-in last term as well as other parts of their successful season.

Bree is getting closer to being fully fit and was back training with the squad before the international break and with another two weeks under his belt he could well be back in contention when the club host Fulham at Oakwell on Saturday.

Heckingbottom will have to manage his workload carefully and that is exactly what he is planning to do with his promising full-back.

“Every time James has played a string of Saturday-Tuesdays it seems like he has picked up an injury,” admitted Heckingbottom. “It’s something we need to certainly look at.

“He’s on the road to recovery but again he’s another one who has had problems in the past. Everyone’s going to miss games at some point but it’s about missing as few as possible.

“A part of our role with him is helping him to understand his body, what he needs, and changing his program.”

Former Barnet boy Andy Yiadom has filled the breach since Bree went down with injury. Heckingbottom has been delighted with his performances so far and is looking forward to watching the two defenders fight it out for a spot in his starting line up.

He said: “Yids has done great and ultimately when James is back it’ll be fantastic for us.”

“We’ll have two good right-backs fighting it out for one place.

“Like I said the importance of having options is really important is terms of freshening things up.

“Having an intensity to our game is important and having two players fit, fighting for a place and firing on all cylinders will be great.”

Elsewhere, Barnsley are reportedly eying up influential Dundalk defender Andy Boyle.

Both the Reds and fellow Yorkshire club Sheffield United are scouting the 25-year-old, according to reports, with a view of making a move for him in the upcoming January transfer window.