Barnsley: Winnall backing Heckingbottom’s managerial bid

Sam Winnall
Sam Winnall
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Reds striker Sam Winnall is backing the club’s decision to give caretaker head coach Paul Heckingbottom the chance to shine.

Heckingbottom has been put in temporary charge of the Reds for an indefinite period following Lee Johnson’s departure to Bristol City.

And Winnall, who has worked closely with Heckingbottom ever since he joined the club from Scunthorpe United back in July 2014, believes “Hecky” deserves his chance at the main job.

“I’m really glad Heck has been given the responsibility; he definitely deserves the chance,” Winnall told The Star. “All the lads are behind him. Everyone gets on really well with Heck and he’s a great coach.

“The time is right for him to step up and be given the chance to get the manager’s job on a permanent basis.

“We’re all behind him and, personally, I’ve always enjoyed working with him ever since I joined the club.”

And Winnall, who is on fire this season with an impressive 17 games under his belt, admits he wasn’t surprised former boss Johnson opted to leave the club and manage the Robins.

“It wasn’t so much of a surprise to be honest, especially because of his connections to Bristol, as a player and with his dad [Gary] having been manager,” reflected Winnall. “I spoke to him after he made the decision and I just wished him the best of luck.

“The gaffer was great with me and he’s joining a club on the up and up, so it’s exciting times for him.

“But it’s exciting times for Barnsley as well. We’re off to Wembley and in with a real chance of getting into the Play Offs. We know it’s going to be really tough to do that, but we’ve played really well the last couple of months.”

The Reds went on a terrific nine game unbeaten run to turn their previously ailing season around, with a fine spell of seven successive League One victories.

But that unbeaten run finally came to an end last weekend as the Reds slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Gillingham.

Meanwhile, the Reds sold just over 10,000 of their initial allocation of 25,286 tickets for their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final against Oxford United on Sunday 3 April (2.30pm).

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