Barnsley: Now let’s get promoted, says manager of the month Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom with his manager of the month award
Paul Heckingbottom with his manager of the month award

Manager of the month Paul Heckingbottom has urged his Barnsley side to channel the feelgood factor from their Wembley win into a play-off push.

The Reds are straight back into League One action today as Chesterfield visit Oakwell, just six days after their terrific Johnstone’s Paint Trophy triumph.

Heckingbottom picked up his personal award yesterday after guiding his team to four wins and four clean sheets in March.

Barnsley sit four points shy of the coveted top six with a game in hand, and the caretaker boss is desperate to ensure that there is no hangover from the cup success.

“It’s not do-or-die yet, but we have to keep pushing and fighting and scrapping for every point,” said Heckingbottom.

“We don’t want the intensity to drop, we want to harness that feeling and that drive from the cup final.

“You can be on a little bit of a downer or a low. The adrenaline is gone and it’s about how you keep that drive going forward.”

Chesterfield are managed by former Reds boss Danny Wilson, who brings his side to Oakwell having lost just two of their last 10 games.

Despite that decent run in which they have accumulated four wins and four draws, the Spireites are precariously perched just two points above the relegation zone.

And Heckingbottom will have to put aside old friendships as he bids to add three more points to the Reds’ kitty.

“They’re fighting for their lives so they’ll be doing everything they can to stop us,” he added. “It’s going to be a difficult and intense game.

“All their staff are friends of mine so that will be good, but they’re in their own battle as well.

“This stage of the season is massive, it’s great. Everyone’s either chasing play-offs or points to stay in the league.”

Heckingbottom has almost a full squad to choose from, with the exception of Ryan Williams who remains sidelined through injury.

Marley Watkins was fit enough for the bench last weekend and is pushing for a return up front, whilst Sam Winnall is expected to recover from the cramp that forced him off during the second half of Sunday’s final.

Everton youngster Callum Connolly has returned to Goodison Park after his loan came to an end. The 18-year-old turned out three times for the Reds in a month-long spell.