Paul Heckingbottom makes rallying call to Barnsley fans

Date published: Thursday 24th November 2016 5:38

Barnsley head coach Paul Heckingbottom has urged the club’s fans to steer clear of the pub and head down to Oakwell for Friday night’s televised Sky Bet Championship clash with Nottingham Forest.

Heckingbottom has transformed the Reds from League One relegation battlers into one of the Championship’s surprise packages.

Barnsley were riding high in third place following a 4-0 win at Wolves in mid-September and although they have slipped to 15th after winning just one of their last 10 league games, they are bidding to make it five games unbeaten.

“It’s easy on a Friday night to sit in the pub with a beer,” Heckingbottom told the club’s official website.

“But I hope everyone turns up here. Then they can go to the pub afterwards celebrating three points, hopefully.

“It’s been great here this season. It started to build towards the end of last season. The more we get in and the noisier we are, it definitely helps the players.”

The Tykes’ last two league games – at Burton and against Wigan – have both ended goalless, with Heckingbottom left to rue missed chances.

“We’re still creating them but we have to be more ruthless, we have to put them away,” he added.

Forest secured their second win in 12 Championship games last week with victory at Ipswich. It was their first league success on the road this season under French boss Philippe Montanier.

But injuries continue to dog the Reds. Two-goal match-winner at Ipswich Britt Assombalonga (hamstring) and defender Eric Lichaj (calf) are both doubtful, while skipper Chris Cohen is set for another extended spell on the sidelines.

“For Chris it is not good news as he consulted the surgeon about his abductor and it is normally three months out,” Montanier told the club’s official website. “It’s a big blow, but we know that footballers can have injuries.”

David Vaughan and Nicklas Bendtner could both return to the squad as Forest bid for back-to-back league wins for only the second time this season.

“It’s an important game as Barnsley have three more points than us,” Montanier added.

“They are a direct opponent and it will be a tough game. We have to continue and show the same mentality, fighting spirit and quality to get the points.”

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