Relegaion-threatened Burton will be tough opposition, says Barnsley boss Pual Heckingbottom

Marc Roberts, who is out for the rest of the season. Pic Steve Ellis
Marc Roberts, who is out for the rest of the season. Pic Steve Ellis

Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom is wary of Burton Albion this weekend.

Despite finishing below both Burton and Wigan Athletic in League One last term, the Reds adapted best to life in the Championship this season.

To put it into context Wigan need to win both their matches to stay up, and hope Birmingham City fail to pick up a point in theirs, while Burton need a point to secure safety.

And the Reds’ visitors would certainly rather get the job done with a game to spare.

Heckingbottom said: “It’s going to be a really tough game. Burton are desperate for the point they need to stay up.

“I saw Nigel [Clough, Burton boss] on Monday at a 23s game, and they understandably want to put it to bed this week.

“They don’t want it to carry over to the last game of the season - quite rightly.

“It’ll be difficult. Their form’s been good, their performances have been good and they’re desperate to stay up.”

Heckingbottom will be without Marc Roberts, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season.

He came off before the Reds’ capitulated at former boss Lee Johnson’s new club Bristol City last time out.

Roberts has a fracture in his ankle and despite admitting it is a huge loss, Heckingbottom knows he needs his captain fit and firing for next season.

He added: “He’s struggling Robbo, he’ll be out and won’t play again this season.

“He’s walking around in a big walking boot so we’ll have to keep him in that for a few weeks.

“It’s disappointing for him really, obviously us as well as he’s a big part of our side, but I’m more disappointed for him because he’s not going to see out a season where he’s played really well.

“Our focus now is getting him right for next season. We’ve got to make sure his recovery and rehab is done well in the summer and he’s ready for pre-season.”

As it stands the central defender does not require surgery, and it is an injury that should not cause him too much damage - other than keeping him out of action for a bit.

Heckingbottom continued: “The ligament pulls the bone away as well a little bit.

“It sounds nasty, but the ligament in question is one a lot of footballers do without when you keep rolling your ankle.

“There are no real concerns with it, it’s just obviously sore and keeps him out. At the moment he doesn’t need an operation, but he may have to.

“It’s a case of keeping him in the walking boot, hope it heals and they’ll reassess him in a month and see how he is.”