Barnsley: Reds ready to fight to the finish

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom

Caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom has vowed his Barnsley side will battle until the end as the race for a top-six spot hots up.

The Reds’ resurgence in 2016 has seen them go from relegation candidates into play-off contenders.

But it’s tight in the top half and they sit just three points off sixth place with 10 games to go as they travel to struggling Fleetwood this afternoon

Heckingbottom has had a week on the training ground to right the wrongs inv the defeat to Southend last weekend and reckons his players are up for the fight in the final stretch of the season.

“We’re prepared to fight and battle all the way to the end,” he declared. “We’ve put ourselves right in contention and we know we’re in the thick of it.

“If teams keep going as they are, there are going to be five or six still in it come the last weekend of the season, so our aim is to be above and beyond that if we can keep our run going.”

The Reds sank today’s hosts in a penalty shoot-out last month to ensure a day at Wembley in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final in April.

And while they haven’t ever beaten the Cod Army in a 90-minute match, Heckingbottom is sure a repeat of that performance will ensure victory this time around.

“Arguably the cup game up there was one of our best performances of the season but in 90 minutes we drew it 1-1,” he added.

“We want a better result than that, we want to make sure we win the game.

“We need to nullify their threat by being strong and disciplined when they’ve got the ball, and create and be positive when we’ve got it.”

Full-backs James Bree and Aidy White remain sidelined through injury, while Marley Watkins faces a late fitness test after suffering a dead leg in his previous outing.

Heckingbottom delivered a coaching session at Royston St John’s Baptist Primary School. One pupil was awarded four tickets to see the Reds at Wembley after winning a shirt-designing competition