Barnsley have made astonishing progress says coach Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom
Paul Heckingbottom

Boss Paul Heckingbottom insists his Barnsley side are ahead of where he thought they would be at this stage of the season.

The Reds have competed well so far and with a bit more luck they would be higher than they are in the Championship table.

The club are 18th, but have played better than some of their results suggest.

And the Reds’ gaffer looks back to the club’s pre-season trip to Hungary and admits his side is unrecognisable in terms of progress made.

He said: “I lost my head during a training session in Hungary. I thought we were miles away. I just started writing things down, ‘what do we need to get there? What do I need to do? On the pitch, off the pitch, everything’.

“We look at the group who went away to Hungary and we played a game with no centre forwards because we didn’t have the personnel.

“We had four at the back and six in midfield, when are we ever going to do that? From where we were that day to how we’re competing now is astonishing. We weren’t capable of the sorts of performances we’re putting in now at the start of the season.

“I look back at Bristol and we’re miles off, but we’ve gradually got better.”

The Reds went through a real transformation in the summer with 15 new faces coming through the door at Oakwell.

And Heckingbottom puts the club’s slow start, back-to-back league defeats, down to their late business and the fact the players were still gelling as a squad.

He added: “They were my problems and my frustrations in pre-season.

“We didn’t get the recruitment down to the level we needed until after the season started.

“We still did a bit more at the very end so we’ve got the group.

“The boys who have been here since the end of June have been working and working and getting better.

“Boys who have come in late are working hard to catch up, but they’ve added to our squad and made us better.

“Now everyone’s in the building now it’s about getting better and the staff and the players pushing.”