Barnsley will take game to Millwall at Wembley says Heckingbottom
Caretaker Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom assures his side will take the game to Millwall when the sides clash at Wembley on Sunday.
The Reds will go head-to-head with the Lions in the League One play-off final, with the prize of a return to the Championship on offer.
Heckingbottom has combined a hard working, all-action approach with plenty of positivity and attacking intent during his time in charge.
And he stressed that his charges will come out all guns blazing when they take to the field at the iconic national stadium.
“We’ve got pace and energy throughout the team so it’s pointless sitting back and trying to contain teams,” said the Barnsley born 38-year-old.
“We have to go at teams and try and affect them, because that’s the type of player we’ve got in the team.
“We’re playing to their strengths. We’ve got a group of players who are young so they’re athletic, they’re fit, so we play with pace.
“We try and use their strengths so the minimum is that the opposition have to match us.
“But then add to that the quality the players have got, and the belief when they apply themselves well and do the right things and make good decisions, then they’re a force.
“We’re a young side but as we’re giving them roles and responsibilities and asking them to do the same things over and over again they’re learning and getting better and better.”
Heckingbottom has tasted defeat just three times since taking over at Oakwell in February when Lee Johnson left for Bristol City.
The former Development Squad manager has enjoyed 13 wins from his 21 games in temporary charge and was named League One Manager of the Month in March.
But he has been quick to divert any praise in the direction of his players and the effort they have put in to turning their season around having been rock bottom at Christmas.
Heckingbottom added: “It’s down to them. They’ve worked really hard to get where they are.
“That’s the pleasing thing; they appreciate how they’ve got there - they know it’s down to their hard work on the training ground and sticking to game plans.
“So it’s not by fluke that they’ve got there. The pleasing thing for me as the coach is they know how they’ve got there, so it’s easier for us to carry it on.”
Despite his success in the role so far Heckingbottom still has the ‘caretaker’ title, although a permanent stay in the Oakwell manager’s office is expected to be announced this summer regardless of Sunday’s result.
And the former Reds full-back has expressed just how much he is enjoying being in charge of his hometown club.
“I love it, I really do,” he admitted. “The football side of it’s amazing, I love working with the players.
“When you’re the one making the decisions and you’re the one with all the responsibility of looking after them you get to know them that little bit more.
“When you’re the one having to give them good news and bad news you get to know them a little bit better and you do become attached.
“I like the fact that you’re bothered about your players, and I like the fact that they’re bothered about the club and the town and getting results.”