Heckingbottom urges his Reds to retain focus

Barnsley caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom Picture Dean Atkins
Barnsley caretaker boss Paul Heckingbottom Picture Dean Atkins

Paul Heckingbottom has urged his Barnsley charges to remain focused as their play-off push comes to its crucial climax.

Tomorrow the Reds host a Colchester side who have nothing to play for having already been consigned to relegation.

The U’s are managerless having parted company with Kevin Keen on Tuesday and have conceded a crushing 95 goals this season, but Heckingbottom is keen to guard against complacency.

“We have to be really wary of Colchester,” warned the caretaker boss.

“Every game I’ve watched them this season they’ve caused problems.

“It’s dangerous thinking we’re going to beat Colchester easily. We’ve got a job to do - that’s to get three points and that’s it!

“You can’t manage all the players’ lives away from the football club, but we can keep them focused and we can try and get the players to shut out all the white noise and all the things that don’t matter.

“In your mind you know exactly what your job is and what we need to do.

“It’s been great at the club. Everyone has been really focused and excited again.”

Barnsley’s destiny is still firmly in their own hands. They are a point inside the League One play-off places with two games to go.

Victory tomorrow could seal a top six spot with a game to spare should Gillingham and Scunthorpe slip up, and Heckingbottom is desperate to ensure his side get over the line by hook or by crook.

“The message is just to put ourselves in the best possible place come the last game of the season,” he added.

“Our form has been good, but it’s all about the points now with it being the last two games.

“The first task was to be in the mix [for the play-offs] come the last game of the season. We’ve done that now and, regardless of what happens, we’re in the mix.

“We just want to win the game and see where we are from there. We’ll be trying everything we can to get that result, which means patience and quality.

“We need to be focused to get the three points, but to do it in a controlled manner.”