Barnsley: How Heckingbottom pointed £7m ex-Red Fletcher towards Middlesbrough

Ashley Fletcher
Ashley Fletcher

Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom has revealed he helped former Red Ashley Fletcher decide to move to Middlesbrough.

The striker played a big part in the club’s double Wembley success in the 2015/16 season and will return to Oakwell tomorrow with Boro.

Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom

Heckingbottom was trying to bring the promising forward back to South Yorkshire on loan from West Ham before Boro bought him.

Heckingbottom told Fletcher to jump at the opportunity during a phone call.

He said: “We’d have loved to have brought him back here.

“He actually phoned me up and said: ‘Boro have just bid for me, £7 million. What do I do? I told him to get himself there.

“That is what we’re competing against.

“We would have needed lots of favours from West Ham to get him here on loan and once it becomes a financial issue we miss out because we can’t compete with that.

“I’ve kept in touch with him because I’ve been trying to get him for so long.

“You’ve got to be happy for those players who have worked hard for you.

“We’d have loved to have had Fletch back here. I know he’d have loved to have come, but he’s got a tremendous move, probably off the back of his time here.”

Barnsley come back from the international break with back-to-back games at Oakwell, with Hull City coming to town next weekend.

Heckingbottom believes the Reds faithful will turn out in force.

He said: “These are the games that are exciting. No matter how well we play, it’ll be tough. I hope we get a massive turn-out because these are the games we enjoy.

“The financial gulf right now is so big in the Championship that, top to bottom, the gap is probably bigger than the Premier League.”

Heckingbottom was been handed a two-game technical-area ban after being sent to the stands during the 3-1 win at Millwall.