Attitude at Barnsley FC is spot on

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Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom believes his side’s mentality is up there with the very best.

The Reds fought from the doldrums of bottom place in the Sky Bet League One table last term before being promoted through the play-offs.

And this season they have shown further signs of their never-say-die attitude, with late goals securing welcome points.

“One of our biggest qualities is our mentality,” said Heckingbottom, whose side are six points better off thanks to goals scored after the 89th minute in games this season.

“That’s down to the hunger in the players and we need to keep pushing that.

“We could get everything right tactically in the game and the best technical players in the world, but if their mentality’s not there then you’re not going to succeed.

“One way you can show it is in your substitutions and if you’re on the back foot and you keep making positive substitutions then that reinforces the way you want to play.

“We want to be an aggressive team, and aggressive players coming off the bench has won us games this season.”

The Reds will be looking to end a momentous year for the club, which saw them win promotion back to the Championship and lift the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley, in fine style as they host Birmingham City on New Year’s Eve.

Barnsley have not beaten the Blues at Oakwell since 2007, but they head into the game in buoyant form with four wins from their last five - whilst their visitors have lost four of their last five.

Former boss Gary Rowlett was sacked by the Midlands’ club earlier this month, and since then they have lost their opening two games under former Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola.