Barnsley: Plenty for each player to play for insists Heckingbottom

Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom is adamant his players are playing for their respective futures.

Despite all but securing a mid-table finish in their first season back in the Championship, the Reds’ squad still have plenty to play for from a personal standpoint.

And this is why Heckingbottom believes every game is huge for the players, no matter what they have already achieved this term.

“Every game’s big,” admitted Heckingbottom. “We have players playing for their place in the team, playing to get new contracts, playing to impress their loan clubs.

“It’s a short career, we’ve got six games left, and that’s a big chunk of their career.”

“One game can set your stool down to impress your current management team, any opposition, the fans, potential suitors, so you’re always playing for something.

“People are playing for their futures elsewhere, if they see it elsewhere.”

And this is why Heckingbottom feels he has to give every player an equal opportunity, providing they have earned it.

He added: “That’s why I’ve always been adamant that you have to pick the team on merit.

“If I want to keep that hunger and the drive then I can’t be rewarding anyone who doesn’t deserve to be in the team.

“We’ve got that hunger and that energy because we’ve got something to play for.

“The players are constantly set that challenge regardless.

“I know subconsciously we may not be playing for a promotion or playing for our lives in this league, but it’s second nature to the players to give it their all.”

Andy Yiadom is expected to undergo surgery today on his injured shoulder, which rules him out for the remainder of the campaign.

Adam Hammill, Tom Bradshaw and Alex Mowatt all have some bumps and bruises from Tuesday night’s game, but they are expected to be fit for today’s trip across the Pennines to face Blackburn Rovers.

The Reds will be coming up against a side who are fighting for their second-tier status, with one point between them and safety.

Heckingbottom’s men won the reverse fixture, but they have not won a Roses battle at Ewood Park this millennium, losing three of their four games at the ground since their last win there back in 1999.