Barnsley star is ready to play through the pain barrier

Marc Roberts scoring for the Reds.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Marc Roberts scoring for the Reds. Picture Bruce Rollinson

Barnsley boss Paul Heckingbottom has been handed a welcome injury boost ahead of the tomorrow’s clash at Norwich City.

Influential defender Marc Roberts was a real doubt, having “rocked his ankle” in the club’s 1-1 home draw with Ipswich Town last Saturday.

But Heckingbottom has revealed Roberts will be fit to play this weekend despite missing training on Thursday as a precaution.

“We’ve been looking after Robbo, but he’s adamant he’ll be fine,” said Heckingbottom. “On Saturday, when he’d done it, he wanted to play on. He was adamant he was ok. He’s one of those players that just wants to carry on, which is good. It’s a case of knowing your players.”

Roberts has been a mainstay of the Reds’ starting line-up with 36 appearances under his belt.

But although the centre-back will be available this weekend, full-backs Andy Yiadom and Aidan White will not.

Yiadom remains sidelined with a knee injury while left-back White is “progressing slowly” according to the boss

“We’re just letting Aidan recover, seeing whatever his body needs” said Heckingbottom.

“We’re not putting any pressure on him because the priority is getting him back and getting him in a position where he is comfortable enough to play.”

Heckingbottom allowed his players to have a wday off at Cheltenham Races on Tuesday, before returning to training on Wednesday for an intensive end to the week ahead of their clash with opponents they beat 2-1 at home back in December courtesy of goals from Tom Bradshaw and Conor Hourihane.

“I wish we could have more of them [days off] to be honest,” admitted Heckingbottom. “I used to enjoy them when I was a player.

“It’s important to have them because it’s definitely a big part of getting that togetherness and spirit. And it helps with enjoying the job you’re in.

“They’d have probably enjoyed the day more if we had a few more points on the board. We’d set them targets for more days off if they had more points, but it was good for everybody.”

Norwich have not won in their last six Championship matches, but Heckingbottom is wary of a reaction, especially with an interim manager at the helm.

“They’ll believe they’ve still got a chance to get into the play-offs,” he added. “It’s a great place to go and play – and will be a full house.

“But we want to finish as high as possible this season, that’s always been our focus.”

The Reds have won one of their last nine matches, but Heckingbottom says: “If we bring our best game we’ll be tough to be beat.”