Barnsley boss tells his side not to get distracted in play-off race

Barnsley v Peterborough United
SkyBet League 1
Barnsley caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom at the end of the game
Picture Dean Atkins
Barnsley v Peterborough United SkyBet League 1 Barnsley caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom at the end of the game Picture Dean Atkins

Paul Heckingbottom will have eyes and ears everywhere tomorrow as he plots Barnsley’s final push for the play-offs.

The Reds travel to League One champions-elect Wigan, knowing that Scunthorpe and Gillingham remain hot on their heels heading into the crucial climax of the regular season.

Victory would be enough to secure sixth place providing Scunthorpe fail to pick up three points, or if they do win, fail to eclipse the two-goal difference between the two clubs.

But caretaker boss Heckingbottom says his side need to focus on their own task first and foremost, whilst keeping up to speed with other scorelines should the situation change later on in the match.

“We will need to know the scores in the other games but we have to make sure we’re in our game,” he admitted.

“Our outlook is not going to change until the final push of the game and we have to make sure we’re in with a shout and we’re in a position where we can get the result we need.

“In the back of our minds we need to be aware that we need to be in the game come the last 20 minutes, and then any adjustments we need to make to chase goals or tighten things up we can do that.

“But we’re doing it on our terms rather than put ourselves from being in sixth position to eighth position and then trying to chase everything.”

The Latics have all but secured the league title, sitting three points ahead of second-placed Burton but with a far superior goal difference.

Gary Caldwell’s men have bagged eight goals in their last two games as they clinched a return to the Championship in fine style.

But Barnsley will take confidence from a penalty shoot-out victory at the DW Stadium in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy northern area semi-finals in December.

Heckingbottom added: “They’re not invincible and we know that. We actually played well against them away from home in the cup and it’s something we have to take heart from.

“Our away form has been good and we’ll cause any team problems away from home.

“Wigan have achieved their goal and we’re still fighting for ours so we’re going there as hungry as possible.

“It’s got to be one final push because we know what we need to do - we can’t be saving anything back for what might happen afterwards.”