Barnsley: Paul Heckingbottom wants chance to develop his own personnel at Oakwell

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Head coach Paul Heckingbottom wants to be able to be judged on the way he can develop a squad at Barnsley.

The former Reds’ defender has been in the job for over a year-and-a-half now, but only a handful of players remain from the squad he inherited.

Nine first-team regulars, including Alfie Mawson, Sam Winnall and Conor Hourihane, have left since Heckingbottom took over and the 39-year-old said: “What I want to be eventually judged on, if I’ve got the same group of players for a long time, is if I make the team better.

“If I’m not I’ll be forever judged on my fire-fighting skills and my ability to plug gaps and that’s not what I want.

“You have to be able to do both, don’t get me wrong, but I want to be a Reading or a Huddersfield and get the opportunity to build a team.”

The Reds have been coined as a selling club and with one of the lowest budgets in the Championship they have to raise funds somehow.

John Stones and Mason Holgate are recent examples of just that, but Heckingbottom wants to develop players to be successful at Oakwell, not for the sole purpose of profit.

But it’s almost like a clean slate now with the club needing to bring in so many bodies this summer that Heckingbottom could well get a group of players he can work with for a substantial amount of time.

The Barnsley boss added: “We need to make a choice. We’re either coaching to sell players or coaching a winning team. I’m always going to coach a winning team, because that’s what I want to do.

“That is difficult to take when you feel you’re getting further and further away from that.

“We’ve got an opportunity now to keep going forward with mini, mini steps.”