Barnsley: ‘This could be our toughest test yet’

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Caretaker Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom reckons his side are in for one of their toughest tests of the season as they take on Peterborough tonight.

The Posh come to Oakwell with little to play for, having mathematically ensured their League One status for next season and seen their faint play-off hopes fade away.

They fired four past struggling Colchester on Saturday to get back to winning ways after back-to-back defeats, and Heckingbottom is wary of the threat that Graham Westley’s charges pose.

“We know they could possibly cause us the most problems we’ve had for a while as a football team and we have to cope with that,” said Heckingbottom.

“All of a sudden the shackles are off and they’re scoring goals for fun again.

“That’s the kind of team they are. They play without fear and maybe the fact that they see themselves as out of the race they’re a more dangerous team.

“It’s a strange one you don’t usually associate it with teams in mid-table but that’s what’s happened with them.

“They’re playing with freedom and taking risks so it’s going be an entertaining game. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s lots of goals in it.”

Barnsley’s defensive ranks are depleted after Aidy White joined James Bree and George Smith on the treatment table.

Josh Scowen is expected to continue to deputise at right-back, with the only fit full-back George Williams operating on the left side.

Bree, 18, picked up the prestigious Apprentice of the Year gong at the Football League Awards on Sunday evening.

And Heckingbottom was full of praise for the teenage talent, who has enjoyed a remarkable rise through the ranks at Oakwell.

He added: “Everyone is delighted for James. He’s in good company with past people who have won the award and he’s getting some good recognition amongst his peers at all levels of the game.

“We’ve got the track record of giving young players opportunities. James turned down a move to a big Premier League club when he was younger because he wanted to stay and he ended up getting in the team with us.”